The high frequencies of recurrence and distant metastasis of adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC) are significant obstacles for the long-term cure of patients with AdCC and emphasize the need for better understanding of the biological factors associated with these outcomes. To identify proteins that mediate AdCC metastasis, we established three AdCC cell lines expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the ACCS cell line using orthotopic transplantation and in vivo selection in nude mice: Parental ACCS-GFP, highly tumorigenic ACCS-T GFP and metastatic ACCS-M GFP. ACCS-GFP and ACCS-M GFP were subjected to DNA microarray analysis and the results were used for data mining studies. DNA microarray analysis revealed significantly altered biological processes in the ACC-M GFP cells, including events related to cell adhesion (three categories) and signaling (three categories). In particular, a significant down-regulation of cell adhesion molecules, such as Cadherins and integrin subunits was observed. The loss of E-cadherin and integrins and the gain of vimentin in ACCS-M GFP cells were confirmed by immunoblotting. These results suggest that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a putative event in AdCC metastasis that induces tumor cell dissemination from the primary tumor site. In summary, in this study we established a useful nude mouse metastasis model which will enable further AdCC metastasis research and clinical treatment trials and we also provide evidence that EMT is significantly involved in the AdCC metastatic process.
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