Invasion of melanoma cells into dermal connective tissue in vitro: evidence for an important role of cysteine proteases.
SourceInternational Journal of Cancer, 106, 3, (2003), pp. 316-323
Article / Letter to editor
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International Journal of Cancer
SubjectUMCN 1.3: Tumor microenvironment
Invasion of melanoma cells into the dermal connective tissue is a major characteristic in the complex process of metastasis. Proteases play an important role in tumor cell invasion as these enzymes are able to degrade most components of the extracellular matrix (ECM), and thus enable cells to penetrate interstitial connective tissues and basement membranes. We developed an improved culture model that allows the detailed study of melanoma cell invasion in vitro. In this model, high (BLM) or low (530) invasive melanoma cells were seeded on the dermal side of dead deepidermized dermis (DDD) and cultured for 14 days at the air/liquid interface. The high invasive cells invaded the tissue, leading to dermal tumor formation, whereas the low invasive cells did not. Analysis of the enzymatic activity of gelatinases by in situ gelatin zymography at neutral pH revealed proteolysis only in those composites cultured with high invasive melanoma cells. Interestingly, in situ zymograms performed at more acidic conditions, favoring the activity of cysteine proteases, exhibited markedly enhanced and widespread gelatinolysis compared to neutral pH. Cysteine protease inhibitors (E-64 and leupeptin) significantly reduced invasion of melanoma cells into these composites. These results indicate an important role of cysteine proteases for tumor invasion.
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