Metastasis is the cause of more than 90% of all cancer deaths. Despite this fact, most anticancer therapeutics currently in clinical use have limited efficacy in treating established metastases. Here, we identify the endoplasmic reticulum chaperone protein, glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), as a metastatic dependency in several highly metastatic cancer cell models. We find that GRP78 is consistently upregulated when highly metastatic cancer cells colonize the lung microenvironment and that mitigation of GRP78 upregulation via short hairpin RNA or treatment with the small molecule IT-139, which is currently under clinical investigation for the treatment of primary tumors, inhibits metastatic growth in the lung microenvironment. Inhibition of GRP78 upregulation and an associated reduction in metastatic potential have been shown in four highly metastatic cell line models: three human osteosarcomas and one murine mammary adenocarcinoma. Lastly, we show that downmodulation of GRP78 in highly metastatic cancer cells significantly increases median survival times in our in vivo animal model of experimental metastasis. Collectively, our data indicate that GRP78 is an attractive target for the development of antimetastatic therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research