Purpose: Matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) plays an important role in carcinoma invasion and metastasis of cancer. Recent studies focus on diverse roles of MMP-7, other than as a protease, during cancer progression. MMP-7 activates the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor by releasing an EGF ligand, tumor growth factor (TGF)-α. Experimental Design: We examined expression of MMP-7 and EGF receptor in an immunohistochemical study of 40 colorectal cancer (CRC) cases. To determine the relationship between the EGF receptor and MMP-7, with a potential curative application, we compared the antitumor activity of the EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (gefitinib) between MMP-7 transfectant, KYSE150 and HT29, and control cells. Results: We found a statistically significant correlation (P = 0.04) between MMP-7 and activated (phosphorylated) EGF receptor expression, both being positive in six (15%) cases. Gefitinib reduced the cell number ratio more for MMP-7 transfectant than mock cells, and the proportion of apoptotic cells was 1.5 times higher in MMP-7 transfectant than mock cells by annexin/propidium iodide staining. This was mediated by activation of a TGF-β signal as confirmed by the abundant expression of TGF-β protein, the cytoplasmic to nuclear translocation of Smad4 protein by the administration of gefitinib, and the quantitative assay of the plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 promoter/luciferase construction. Conclusions: We propose that there are some cancers with up-regulated MMP-7 expression that leads to the activation of apoptotic activity of TGF-β, which is susceptible to treatment with EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research