Extracellular engagement of alpha6 integrin inhibited urokinase-type plasminogen activator-mediated cleavage and delayed human prostate bone metastasis

Cancer Res. 2009 Jun 15;69(12):5007-14. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-0354. Epub 2009 Jun 2.


Expression of alpha(6) integrin, a laminin receptor, on tumor cell surfaces is associated with reduced patient survival and increased metastasis in a variety of tumors. In prostate cancer, tumor extracapsular escape occurs in part via laminin-coated nerves and vascular dissemination, resulting in clinically significant bone metastases. We previously identified a novel form of alpha(6) integrin, called alpha(6)p, generated by urokinase-type plasminogen activator-dependent cleavage of the laminin-binding domain from the tumor cell surface. Cleavage increased laminin-dependent migration. Currently, we used the known conformation sensitivity of integrin function to determine if engagement of the extracellular domain inhibited integrin cleavage and the extravasation step of metastasis. We show that alpha(6) integrin was present on prostate carcinoma escaping the gland via nerves. Both endogenous and inducible levels of alpha(6)p were inhibited by engaging the extracellular domain of alpha(6) with monoclonal antibody J8H. J8H inhibited tumor cell invasion through Matrigel. A severe combined immunodeficient mouse model of extravasation and bone metastasis produced detectable, progressive osteolytic lesions within 3 weeks of intracardiac injections. Injection of tumor cells, pretreated with J8H, delayed the appearance of metastases. Validation of the alpha(6) cleavage effect on extravasation was confirmed through a genetic approach using tumor cells transfected with uncleavable alpha(6) integrin. Uncleavable alpha(6) integrin significantly delayed the onset and progression of osseous metastases out to six weeks post-injection. The results suggest that alpha(6) integrin cleavage permits extravasation of human prostate cancer cells from circulation to bone and can be manipulated to prevent metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Primers
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Integrin alpha6 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / metabolism


  • DNA Primers
  • Integrin alpha6
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator