A disintegrin and metalloprotease 12 (ADAM12) has been implicated in cell growth, tumor formation, and metastasis. Therefore, we evaluated the role of ADAM12 in colorectal cancer (CRC) progression and prognosis, and elucidated whether targeted downregulation of ADAM12 could lead to therapeutic sensitization. The effect of ADAM12 on tumor cell behavior was assessed in CRC cell lines, CRC tissues, and a mouse xenograft model. ADAM12 overexpression enhanced proliferation, inhibited apoptosis, and acted as positive regulator of cell cycle progression in CRC cells. Phosphorylation of PTEN was decreased and that of Akt was increased by ADAM12 overexpression. These results were reversed upon ADAM12 knockdown. ADAM12 overexpression was significantly associated with the cancer stage, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, and poor survival in CRC patients. In a mouse xenograft model, tumor area, volume, and weight were significantly greater for the ADAM12-pcDNA6-myc-transfected group than for the empty-pcDNA6-myc-transfected group, and significantly lower for the ADAM12-pGFP-C-shLenti-transfected group than for the scrambled pGFP-C-shLenti-transfected group. In conclusion, ADAM12 overexpression is essential for the growth and progression of CRC. Furthermore, ADAM12 knockdown reveals potent anti-tumor activity in a mouse xenograft model. Thus, ADAM12 may serve as a promising biomarker and/or therapeutic target in CRC.
Keywords: ADAM12; cell survival; colorectal neoplasm; prognosis.