Heparan sulfate degradation: relation to tumor invasive and metastatic properties of mouse B16 melanoma sublines

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Science  06 May 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4597, pp. 611-613
DOI: 10.1126/science.6220468


After transport in the blood and implantation in the microcirculation, metastatic tumor cells must invade the vascular endothelium and underlying basal lamina. Mouse B16 melanoma sublines were used to determine the relation between metastatic properties and the ability of the sublines to degrade enzymatically the sulfated glycosaminoglycans present in the extracellular matrix of cultured vascular endothelial cells. Highly invasive and metastatic B16 sublines degraded matrix glycosaminoglycans faster than did sublines of lower metastatic potential. The main products of this matrix degradation were heparan sulfate fragments. Intact B16 cells (or their cell-free homogenates) with a high potential for lung colonization degraded purified heparan sulfate from bovine lung at higher rates than did B16 cells with a poor potential for lung colonization. Analysis of the degradation fragments indicated that B16 cells have a heparan sulfate endoglycosidase. Thus the abilities of B16 melanoma cells to extravasate and successfully colonize the lung may be related to their capacities to degrade heparan sulfate in the walls of pulmonary blood vessels.