Possible involvement of tetraspanin CO-029 in hematogenous intrahepatic metastasis of liver cancer cells

Kengo Kanetaka, Michiie Sakamoto, Yoshiya Yamamoto, Masaaki Takamura, Takashi Kanematsu, Setsuo Hirohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aim: A correlation between overexpression of tetraspanin CO-029 and the intrahepatic spread of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been observed in surgically resected specimens from humans. However, the cellular mechanisms involved in CO-029 protein modulation of the metastatic phenotype are unknown. In the present study, CO-029 cDNA was stably transfected into a non-metastatic human HCC cell line to investigate whether it could directly promote metastasis. Methods: We constructed a human HCC cell line that stably overexpressed CO-029 and mock transfectants. Using these transfectants, we examined cell proliferation characteristics in monolayer culture and the ability to adhere to culture plates coated with laminin, fibronectin, vitronectin and collagen type-I or type-IV. Orthotopic implantation of these transfectants to SCID mice was also performed. Results: Several clones of CO-029 transfectants and mock transfectants were established. The growth rates and adhesive properties to the extracellular matrix did not differ between CO-029 and mock transfectants. When orthotopically implanted, the size of the primary tumor in the liver did not differ between CO-029 and the mock transfectants. However, only CO-029 positive clones developed intrahepatic metastatic lesions. Conclusion: These results suggest that CO-029 might be involved in hematogenous intrahepatic metastasis, although the precise cellular mechanisms involved remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1309-1314
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Intrahepatic metastasis
  • Tetraspanin
  • Transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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