Keratinocytes drive melanoma invasion in a reconstructed skin model

Melanoma Res. 2010 Oct;20(5):372-80. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0b013e32833d8d70.


Melanoma progression is a multistep progression from a common melanocytic nevus through the radial growth phase, the invasive vertical growth phase finally leading to metastatic spread into distant organs. Migration and invasion of tumor cells requires secretion of proteases to facilitate remodeling of the extracellular matrix including basement membranes. Here we used a reconstructed skin model to investigate melanoma growth and invasion in vitro. Using this model we show that the dermoepidermal basement membrane prevents the invasion of metastatic melanoma BLM and MV3 cells in the absence of a stratified epidermis. In the reconstructed skin model, matrix metalloproteinase-9, a protease activated early in melanoma development, is secreted by the keratinocytes and subsequently activated by an unknown soluble factor secreted by the melanoma cells. The dynamic interplay between keratinocytes and melanoma cells is further shown by an altered growth pattern of melanoma cells and the finding that a reconstructed epidermis induces invasion. Overall, our findings show that the invasive behavior of melanoma cells is determined by the melanoma cells themselves, but that the interplay between surrounding keratinocytes and the melanoma cells plays an important role in melanoma invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / pathology
  • Keratinocytes / physiology*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Skin* / pathology
  • Tissue Engineering / methods
  • Tissue Scaffolds