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β1-Integrins Regulate the Formation and Adhesion of Ovarian Carcinoma Multicellular Spheroids

  • Rachael C. Casey
  • Kathryn M. Burleson
  • Keith M. Skubitz
  • Stefan E. Pambuccian
  • Theodore R. Oegema
  • Laura E. Ruff
  • Amy P. N. Skubitz
American Society for Investigative Pathology
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2001
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


Ovarian carcinoma multicellular spheroids are an in vitro model of micrometastasis whose adhesive abilities have not been elucidated. In this study, we identified adhesion molecules that mediate the formation of ovarian carcinoma spheroids and their subsequent adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins. The NIH:OVCAR5, but not the SKOV3, ovarian carcinoma cell line formed spheroids similar to multicellular aggregates isolated from patient ascitic fluid. NIH:OVCAR5 spheroid formation was augmented by a β1-integrin-stimulating monoclonal antibody or exogenous fibronectin, but was inhibited by blocking monoclonal antibodies against the α5- or β1-integrin subunits. By immunohistochemical staining, α2-, α3-, α5-, α6-, and β1-integrin subunits, CD44, and fibronectin were detected in NIH:OVCAR5 spheroids. NIH:OVCAR5 spheroids adhered to fibronectin, laminin, and type IV collagen, and this adhesion was partially inhibited by blocking antibodies against the α5-, α6-, and α2-integrin subunits, respectively. A blocking monoclonal antibody against the β1-integrin subunit completely inhibited adhesion of the spheroids to all three proteins. These results suggest that interactions between the α5β1-integrin and fibronectin mediate the formation of ovarian carcinoma spheroids and that their adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins at sites of secondary tumor growth may be mediated by a complex interaction between multiple integrins and their ligands.

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