Background: Decreased expression of the angiogenesis inhibitor ADAMTS1 (ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 1) has previously been reported during prostate cancer progression. The aim of this study was to investigate the function of ADAMTS1 in prostate tumors.
Methods: ADAMTS1 was downregulated by shRNA technology in the human prostate cancer cell line LNCaP (androgen-dependent), originally expressing ADAMTS1, and was upregulated by transfection in its subline LNCaP-19 (androgen-independent), expressing low levels of ADAMTS1. Cells were implanted subcutaneously in nude mice and tumor growth, microvessel density (MVD), blood vessel morphology, pericyte coverage and thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) were studied in the tumor xenografts.
Results: Modified expression of ADAMTS1 resulted in altered blood vessel morphology in the tumors. Low expression levels of ADAMTS1 were associated with small diameter blood vessels both in LNCaP and LNCaP-19 tumors, while high levels of ADAMTS1 were associated with larger vessels. In addition, TSP1 levels in the tumor xenografts were inversely related to ADAMTS1 expression. MVD and pericyte coverage were not affected. Moreover, upregulation of ADAMTS1 inhibited tumor growth of LNCaP-19, as evidenced by delayed tumor establishment. In contrast, downregulation of ADAMTS1 in LNCaP resulted in reduced tumor growth rate.
Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that ADAMTS1 is an important regulatory factor of angiogenesis and tumor growth in prostate tumors, where modified ADAMTS1 expression resulted in markedly changed blood vessel morphology, possibly related to altered TSP1 levels.