Parathyroid hormone-related protein and ezrin are up-regulated in human lung cancer bone metastases

Clin Exp Metastasis. 2007;24(2):107-19. doi: 10.1007/s10585-007-9059-9. Epub 2007 Mar 17.


Lung cancer often metastasizes to bone in patients with advanced disease. Identification of the factors involved in the interactions between lung cancer cells and bone will improve the prevention and treatment of bone metastases. We identified changes in metastasis-related gene expression of human HARA lung squamous carcinoma cells co-cultured with neonatal mouse calvariae using a pathway-specific microarray analysis. Nine genes were up-regulated and two genes down-regulated in HARA cells co-cultured with mouse calvariae. Five of the nine up-regulated genes, including caveolin 1, CD44, EphB2, ezrin, and Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), and one down-regulated gene, SLPI, were further confirmed by Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A mouse model was subsequently used to study the role of PTHrP and ezrin in bone metastasis in vivo. PTHrP (all three isoforms) and ezrin were up-regulated in HARA cells at sites of bone metastasis as detected by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. The PTHrP 141 mRNA isoform was increased by the greatest extent (13.9-fold) in bone metastases compared to PTHrP 139 and PTHrP 173 mRNA. We then generated a HARA cell line in which PTHrP expression was inducibly silenced by RNA interference. Silencing of PTHrP expression caused significant reduction of submembranous F-actin and decreased HARA cell invasion. Ezrin up-regulation was confirmed by Western blots on HARA cells co-cultured with adult mouse long bones. Further, Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) was identified as one of the factors in the bone microenvironment that was responsible for the up-regulation of ezrin. The identification of PTHrP and ezrin as important regulators of lung cancer bone metastasis offers new mechanistic insights into the metastasis of lung cancer and provides potential targets for the prevention and treatment of lung cancer metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Bone Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Silencing
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Nude
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / genetics*
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Up-Regulation*


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • ezrin