Chemotherapy-Induced Activation of ADAM-17: A Novel Mechanism of Drug Resistance in Colorectal Cancer

Joan Kyula, Sandra Van Schaeybroeck, Joanne Doherty, Cathy Fenning, Daniel Longley, Patrick Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We have shown previously that exposure to anticancer drugs can trigger the activation of human epidermal receptor survival pathways in colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, we examined the role of ADAMs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinases) and soluble growth factors in this acute drug resistance mechanism.

Experimental Design: In vitro and in vivo models of CRC were assessed. ADAM-17 activity was measured using a fluorometric assay. Ligand shedding was assessed by ELISA or Western blotting. Apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry and Western blotting.

Results: Chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil) treatment resulted in acute increases in transforming growth factor-a, amphiregulin, and heregulin ligand shedding in vitro and in vivo that correlated with significantly increased ADAM-17 activity. Small interfering RNA–mediated silencing and pharmacologic inhibition confirmed that ADAM-17 was the principal ADAM involved in this prosurvival response. Furthermore, overexpression of ADAM-17 significantly decreased the effect of chemotherapy on tumor growth and apoptosis. Mechanistically, we found that ADAM-17 not only regulated phosphorylation of human epidermal receptors but also increased the activity of a number of other growth factor receptors, such as insulin-like growth factor-I receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor.

Conclusions: Chemotherapy acutely activates ADAM-17, which results in growth factor shedding, growth factor receptor activation, and drug resistance in CRC tumors. Thus, pharmacologic inhibition of ADAM-17 in conjunction with chemotherapy may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of CRC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3378-3389
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemotherapy-Induced Activation of ADAM-17: A Novel Mechanism of Drug Resistance in Colorectal Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this