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Open Access Research article

PGF-F-prostanoid receptor signalling via ADAMTS1 modulates epithelial cell invasion and endothelial cell function in endometrial cancer

Margaret C Keightley, Kurt J Sales and Henry N Jabbour*

Author Affiliations

Medical Research Council Human Reproductive Sciences Unit, The Queen's Medical Research Institute, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ, UK

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:488  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-488

Published: 14 September 2010



An increase in cancer cell invasion and microvascular density is associated with a poorer prognosis for patients with endometrial cancer. In endometrial adenocarcinoma F-prostanoid (FP) receptor expression is elevated, along with its ligand prostaglandin (PG)F, where it regulates expression and secretion of a host of growth factors and chemokines involved in tumorigenesis. This study investigates the expression, regulation and role of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with thrombospondin repeat 1 (ADAMTS1) in endometrial adenocarcinoma cells by PGFvia the FP receptor.


Human endometrium and adenocarcinoma tissues were obtained in accordance with Lothian Research Ethics Committee guidance with informed patient consent. Expression of ADAMTS1 mRNA and protein in tissues was determined by quantitative RT-PCR analysis and immunohistochemistry. Signal transduction pathways regulating ADAMTS1 expression in Ishikawa cells stably expressing the FP receptor to levels seen in endometrial cancer (FPS cells) were determined by quantitative RT-PCR analysis. In vitro invasion and proliferation assays were performed with FPS cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) using conditioned medium (CM) from PGF-treated FPS cells from which ADAMTS1 was immunoneutralised and/or recombinant ADAMTS1. The role of endothelial ADAMTS1 in endothelial cell proliferation was confirmed with RNA interference. The data in this study were analysed by T-test or ANOVA.


ADAMTS1 mRNA and protein expression is elevated in endometrial adenocarcinoma tissues compared with normal proliferative phase endometrium and is localised to the glandular and vascular cells. Using FPS cells, we show that PGF2α-FP signalling upregulates ADAMTS1 expression via a calmodulin-NFAT-dependent pathway and this promotes epithelial cell invasion through ECM and inhibits endothelial cell proliferation. Furthermore, we show that CM from FPS cells regulates endothelial cell ADAMTS1 expression in a rapid biphasic manner. Using RNA interference we show that endothelial cell ADAMTS1 also negatively regulates cellular proliferation.


These data demonstrate elevated ADAMTS1 expression in endometrial adenocarcinoma. Furthermore we have highlighted a mechanism whereby FP receptor signalling regulates epithelial cell invasion and endothelial cell function via the PGF-FP receptor mediated induction of ADAMTS1.