The urokinase receptor supports tumorigenesis of human malignant pleural mesothelioma cells

Torry A. Tucker, Candice Dean, Andrey A. Komissarov, Kathy Koenig, Andrew P. Mazar, Usha Pendurthi, Timothy Allen, Steven Idell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a lethal neoplasm for which current therapy is unsatisfactory. The urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is associated with increased virulence of many solid neoplasms, but its role in the pathogenesis of MPM is currently unclear. We found that REN human pleural MPM cells expressed 4- to 10-fold more uPAR than MS-1 or M9K MPM cells or MeT5A human pleural mesothelial cells. In a new orthotopic murine model of MPM, we found that the kinetics of REN cell tumorigenesis is accelerated versus MS-1 or M9K cells, and that REN instillates generated larger tumors expressing increased uPAR, were more invasive, and caused earlier mortality. While REN, MS-1, and M9K tumors were all associated with prominent extravascular fibrin deposition, excised REN tumor homogenates were characterized by markedly increased uPAR at both the mRNA and protein levels. REN cells exhibited increased thymidine incorporation, which was attenuated in uPAR-silenced cells (P< 0.01). REN cells traversed three-dimensional fibrin gels while MS-1, M9K, and MeT5A cells did not. uPAR siRNA or uPAR blocking antibodies decreased REN cell migration and invasion, while uPA and fetal bovine serum augmented the effects. Transfection of relatively low uPAR expressing MS-1 cells with uPAR cDNA increased proliferation and migration in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. These observations link overexpression of uPAR to the pathogenesis of MPM, demonstrate that this receptor contributes to accelerated tumor growth in part through interactions with uPA, and suggest that uPAR may be a promising target for therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-696
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Invasion
  • Malignant pleural mesothelioma
  • Proliferation
  • Tumorigenesis
  • Urokinase receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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