Effect of Smad7 expression on metastasis of mouse mammary carcinoma JygMC(A) cells

Haruhito Azuma, Shogo Ehata, Hideyo Miyazaki, Tetsuro Watabe, Osamu Maruyama, Takeshi Imamura, Takeshi Sakamoto, Satoshi Kiyama, Yuko Kiyama, Takanobu Ubai, Teruo Inamoto, Shiro Takahara, Yuko Itoh, Yoshinori Otsuki, Yoji Katsuoka, Kohei Miyazono, Shigeo Horie
Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2005 December 7, 97 (23): 1734-46

BACKGROUND: Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) facilitates metastasis during the advanced stages of cancer. Smad6, Smad7, and c-Ski block signaling by the TGF-beta superfamily proteins through different modes of action. We used adenovirus-mediated gene transfer of these natural inhibitors in a mouse model of breast cancer to examine the roles of TGF-beta superfamily signaling in tumor growth and metastasis.

METHODS: We systemically administered, by intravenous injection, adenoviruses (AdCMV) containing the mouse cDNAs for Smad7, Smad6, c-Ski, the c-Ski mutant c-Ski (ARPG), or LacZ (control) to nude mice (>19 mice/group) bearing tumors derived from mouse mammary carcinoma JygMC(A) cells, which spontaneously metastasize to lung and liver, and examined their effects on survival and metastasis. High-throughput western blotting analysis was used to examine the expression levels for 47 signal transduction proteins in JygMC(A) cells and primary tumors. We also investigated the proliferation, migration, and invasion of JygMC(A) cells that stably overexpressed Smad6 or Smad7. Nonparametric comparisons were done by Kruskal-Wallis H statistic and Wilcoxon's rank sum tests. Parametric comparisons were done by one-way analysis of variance or two-sided unpaired Student's t tests. All statistical tests were two-sided.

RESULTS: Control mice bearing tumors derived from JygMC(A) cells showed many metastases to the lung and liver; all animals died by 50 days after cell inoculation. By contrast, mice treated with AdCMV-Smad7 or AdCMV-c-Ski demonstrated a dramatic decrease in metastasis and statistically significantly longer survival than control mice (Smad7 versus LacZ: medium survival = 55 days versus 41 days, difference = 14 days [95% confidence interval {CI} = 6 days to 22 days], P < .001), whereas mice treated with AdCMV-Smad6 or AdCMV-c-Ski (ARPG) did not. Expression of Smad7 in JygMC(A) cells was associated with increased expression of major components of adherens and tight junctions, including E-cadherin, decreased expression of N-cadherin, and decreases in the migratory and invasive abilities of the JygMC(A) cells.

CONCLUSION: Smad7 inhibits metastasis, possibly by regulating cell-cell adhesion. Systemic expression of Smad7 may be a novel strategy for the prevention of metastasis of advanced cancers.

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