EMMPRIN, which is identical to human basigin (CD147), interacts with fibroblasts and stimulates expression of MMPs, which play an important role in tumor invasiveness and metastasis. In the present study, we demonstrated that coculture of basigin-expressing human MM cells with dermal fibroblasts resulted in the induction of MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3 and MT1-MMP production by fibroblasts and of melanoma cell invasion through a reconstituted basement membrane. Antibody to basigin inhibited both the production of MMPs by fibroblasts and the invasiveness of melanoma cells. Expression of basigin and MMPs in MM and surrounding fibroblasts was examined immunohistochemically in 28 specimens from 18 MM patients without metastasis and 10 with metastasis, to investigate whether basigin plays a role in metastasis of MM in vivo. Basigin was expressed in melanoma cells but not in fibroblasts. MM with metastasis had significantly higher basigin expression compared to MM without metastasis. There were significant differences between MMs with and without metastasis in the expression of MMPs in both melanoma cells and fibroblasts. Expression of MMPs in fibroblasts was positively correlated with expression levels of basigin. These immunohistochemic findings indicate that MMPs might be expressed in fibroblasts as well as melanoma cells concomitantly with basigin, which was expressed in melanoma cells more frequently in MM with metastasis. Basigin is highly expressed in melanoma cells and may play an important role in their invasiveness and metastasis by stimulating surrounding fibroblasts to express MMPs.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.