Human prostate cancer cells adhere specifically to hemoglobin: a possible role in bone-specific metastasis.
ABSTRACT From the supernatant of rabbit bone marrow, we isolated an organ-specific factor, which was related with the metastasis of prostate cancer to the bone and examined its adhesion to prostate cancer cells (PC-3). Molecular weight and amino acid sequence analyses of the active component obtained by high performance liquid chromatography revealed that a component identical to the alpha chain of hemoglobin accounted for 80% of the biological activity. Hemoglobin showed over 50% adhesion to PC-3 cells but only 10% adhesion to human colon cancer cell lines, representative of organ non-specific metastasis, and leukemia cells line, representative of a non-solid tumor. Some substance in the bone marrow may promote the first step of adhesion of cancer cells to bone marrow in the metastasis of prostate cancer to the bone, possibly an amino acid sequence or some tertiary structure similar to hemoglobin.