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Milk fat globule EGF-8 promotes melanoma progression through coordinated Akt and twist signaling in the tumor microenvironment

, : Milk fat globule EGF-8 promotes melanoma progression through coordinated Akt and twist signaling in the tumor microenvironment. Cancer Research 68(21): 8889-8898

The pathogenesis of malignant melanoma involves the interplay of tumor cells with normal host elements, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here, we show that milk fat globule EGF-8 (MFG-E8), a secreted protein expressed at high levels in the vertical growth phase of melanoma, promotes disease progression through coordinated alpha v beta 3 integrin signaling in the tumor microenvironment. In a murine model of melanoma, MFG-E8 enhanced tumorigenicity and metastatic capacity through Akt-dependent and Twist-dependent pathways. MFG-E8 augmented melanoma cell resistance to apoptosis, triggered an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and stimulated invasion and immune suppression. In human melanoma cells, MFG-E8 knockdown attenuated Akt and Twist signaling and thereby compromised tumor cell survival, EMT, and invasive ability. MFG-E8-deficient human melanoma cells also showed increased sensitivity to small molecule inhibitors of insulin-like growth factor I receptor and c-Met. Together, these findings delineate pleiotropic roles for MFG-E8 in the tumor microenvironment and raise the possibility that systemic MFG-E8 blockade might prove therapeutic for melanoma patients.


PMID: 18974133

DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2147

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