Glycoprotein non-metastatic melanoma protein B promotes tumor growth and is a biomarker for lymphangioleiomyomatosis

Endocr Relat Cancer. 2024 May 9;31(6):e230312. doi: 10.1530/ERC-23-0312. Print 2024 Jun 1.


Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare, progressive cystic lung disease affecting almost exclusively female-sexed individuals. The cysts represent regions of lung destruction caused by smooth muscle tumors containing mutations in one of the two tuberous sclerosis (TSC) genes. mTORC1 inhibition slows but does not stop LAM advancement. Furthermore, monitoring disease progression is hindered by insufficient biomarkers. Therefore, new treatment options and biomarkers are needed. LAM cells express melanocytic markers, including glycoprotein non-metastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB). The function of GPNMB in LAM is currently unknown; however, GPNMB's unique cell surface expression on tumor versus benign cells makes GPNMB a potential therapeutic target, and persistent release of its extracellular ectodomain suggests potential as a serum biomarker. Here, we establish that GPNMB expression is dependent on mTORC1 signaling, and that GPNMB regulates TSC2-null tumor cell invasion in vitro. Further, we demonstrate that GPNMB enhances TSC2-null xenograft tumor growth in vivo, and that ectodomain release is required for this xenograft growth. We also show that GPNMB's ectodomain is released from the cell surface of TSC2-null cells by proteases ADAM10 and 17, and we identify the protease target sequence on GPNMB. Finally, we demonstrate that GPNMB's ectodomain is present at higher levels in LAM patient serum compared to healthy controls and that ectodomain levels decrease with mTORC1 inhibition, making it a potential LAM biomarker.

Keywords: GPNMB; biomarker; lymphangioleiomyomatosis; mTORC1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor* / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / genetics
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / metabolism
  • Lymphangioleiomyomatosis* / pathology
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins* / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein / genetics
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein / metabolism


  • GPNMB protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 2 Protein