Malignancy is a manifestation of acquired defects in regulatory circuits that direct normal cell proliferation and homeostasis. Most of these circuits operate through cell autonomous pathways, whereas others potentially involve the neighboring microenvironment. We report that the metalloprotease ADAM17 plays a pivotal role in several acquired tumor cell capabilities by mediating the availability of soluble transforming growth factor-α, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligand, and thus the establishment of a key autocrine signaling pathway. Silencing of ADAM17 in human renal carcinoma cell lines corrects critical features associated with cancer cells, including growth autonomy, tumor inflammation, and tissue invasion. Highly malignant renal carcinoma cancer cells fail to form in vivo tumors in the absence of ADAM17, confirming the essential function of this molecule in tumorigenesis. These data show that ligand shedding is a crucial step in endogenous EGFR activation and endorse prospective therapeutic strategies targeting ADAM17 in human cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research