Osteoactivin (GPNMB) ectodomain protein promotes growth and invasive behavior of human lung cancer cells

Oncotarget. 2016 Mar 22;7(12):13932-44. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.7323.


The potential application of GPNMB/OA as a therapeutic target for lung cancer will require a greater understanding of the impact of GPNMB/OA ectodomain (ECD) protein shedding into tumor tissues. Thus, in this work we characterized GPNMB/OA expression and extent of shedding of its ECD protein while evaluating the impact on lung cancer progression using three non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines: A549, SK-MES-1 and calu-6. We observed a direct correlation (R2 = 0.89) between GPNMB/OA expression on NSCLC cells and the extent of GPNMB/OA ECD protein shedding. Meanwhile, siRNA-mediated knockdown of GPNMB/OA in cancer cells significantly reduced GPNMB/OA ECD protein shedding, migration, invasion and adhesion to extracellular matrix materials. Also, exogenous treatment of cancer cells (expressing low GPNMB/OA) with recombinant GPNMB/OA protein (rOA) significantly facilitated cell invasion and migration, but the effects of rOA was negated by inclusion of a selective RGD peptide. Further studies in athymic (nu/nu) mice-bearing calu-6 showed that intratumoral supplementation with rOA effectively facilitated in vivo tumor growth as characterized by a high number of proliferating cells (Ki67 staining) coupled with a low number of apoptotic cells. Taken together, our results accentuate the relevance of GPNMB/OA ECD protein shedding to progression of lung cancer. Thus, strategies that suppress GPNMB/OA expression on lung cancer cells as well as negate shedding of GPNMB/OA ECD protein are worthy of consideration in lung cancer therapeutics.

Keywords: GPNMB; NSCLC; cell adhesion; integrin; lung cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Protein Domains
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • GPNMB protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins