Transforming growth factor beta1 acts as an inducer of matrix metalloproteinase expression and activity in human bone-metastasizing cancer cells.
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Bone metastases are a common complication in prostate and breast cancer patients. It leads to extensive morbidity and eventually mortality. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are known to be involved in the metastatic process. MMP activity can be down-regulated by transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1), a growth-modulating factor, found in high concentrations in the bone. TGF-beta1 acts through the TGF-beta1 inhibitory element (TIE) element, a cis-acting element found in the promoter region of most MMP genes, with the exception of MMP-2. We used three human cell lines relevant for bone metastases, namely prostate adenocarcinoma PC-3, breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-231, and adenocarcinoma cells of unknown origin, Hs696, and one human osteosarcoma cell line, SAOS-2, and showed that in these cell lines TGF-beta1 partially lost its repressing action on MMP expression. TGF-beta1 was able to induce MMP-9 activity and protein expression in all three bone-metastatic tumour cell types, whereas MMP-9 protein levels were repressed in SAOS-2 cells. In PC-3 cells, TGF-beta1 repressed MMP-1 expression, whereas in MDA-MB-231 and SAOS-2 cells, an increase in the expression of MMP-1 protein was detected. Additionally, an increase in MMP-3 expression was observed in Hs696 cells. Expression and activity of the tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2, were found increased in both PC-3 and MDA-MB-231 cells. With respect to cell proliferation, TGF-beta1 was able to induce a dose-dependent growth inhibition of up to 50% in primary human mammary epithelial cells. However, in none of the tumour cell lines was TGF-beta1 able to suppress growth substantially. Data presented in this paper support the hypothesis that TGF-beta1 can potentially disrupt the balance existing between osteoclast- and osteoblast-derived MMP activity by inducing altered expression of matrix metalloproteinases and their tissue inhibitors derived from bone-metastasizing cancer cells. This could eventually lead to skeletal destruction in patients with advanced metastatic disease.
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