The secreted MIA protein is strongly expressed by advanced primary and metastatic melanomas but not in normal melanocytes. Previous studies have shown that MIA serum levels correlate with clinical tumour progression in melanoma patients. To provide direct evidence that MIA plays a role in metastasis of malignant melanomas, A-mel 3 hamster melanoma cells were transfected with sense- and antisense rhMIA cDNA and analysed subsequently for changes in their tumorigenic and metastatic potential. Enforced expression of MIA in A-mel 3 cells significantly increased their metastatic potential without affecting primary tumour growth, cell proliferation or apoptosis rate in hamsters, compared with control or antisense transfected cells. Additionally, MIA overexpressing transfectants showed a higher rate of both tumour cell invasion and extravasation. Cells transfected with MIA antisense generally exerted an opposite response. The above changes in function attributed to the expression of MIA may underlie the contribution of MIA to the malignant phenotype.
Copyright 2000 Cancer Research Campaign.