Heparanase mechanisms of melanoma metastasis to the brain: Development and use of a brain slice model

Brian P. Murry, Bryan E. Blust, Amandip Singh, Timothy P. Foster, Dario Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Heparanase (HPSE-1) is an endo-β-o-glucuronidase that cleaves heparan sulfate (HS) chains of proteoglycans (HSPG), and its expression has been associated with increased cell growth, invasion, and angiogenesis of tumors as well as with embryogenesis and tissue development. Since metastatic cancer cells express HPSE-1, we have developed an orthotopic brain slice model to study HPSE-1 involvement in brain-metastatic melanoma. This model allows for the characterization of tumor cell invasion at both quantitative and qualitative levels. Brain-metastatic melanoma eel Is (B16B15b) showed augmenting levels of HPSE-1 protein expression in a time-dependent manner. Secondly, B16B15b cells pre-treated with HPSE-1 showed a significant increase in the number of cells that invaded into the brain tissue. Finally, HPSE-1 exposure-augmented invasion depth in brain sections by brain-metastatic melanoma cells. We concluded that applying this brain slice model can be beneficial to investigate HPSE-1- related in vivo modalities in brain-metastatic melanoma and brain invasion in general. These results also further emphasize the potential relevance of using this model to design therapies for controlling this type of cancer by blocking HPSE-1 functionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-225
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006


  • Brain metastasis
  • Brain slice model
  • Heparanase
  • Invasion
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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