ADAMTS18 dysregulation plays an important role in many disease processes including cancer. We previously found ADAMTS18 as frequently methylated tumor suppressor gene (TSG) for multiple carcinomas, however, its biological functions and underlying molecular mechanisms in breast carcinogenesis remain unknown. Here, we found that ADAMTS18 was silenced or downregulated in breast cancer cell lines. ADAMTS18 was reduced in primary breast tumor tissues as compared with their adjacent noncancer tissues. ADAMTS18 promoter methylation was detected in 70.8% of tumor tissues by methylation-specific PCR, but none of the normal tissues. Demethylation treatment restored ADAMTS18 expression in silenced breast cell lines. Ectopic expression of ADAMTS18 in breast tumor cells resulted in inhibition of cell migration and invasion. Nude mouse model further confirmed that ADAMTS18 suppressed breast cancer metastasis in vivo. Further mechanistic studies showed that ADAMTS18 suppressed epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), further inhibited migration and invasion of breast cancer cells. ADAMT18 deregulated AKT and NF-κB signaling, through inhibiting phosphorylation levels of AKT and p65. Thus, ADAMTS18 as an antimetastatic tumor suppressor antagonizes AKT and NF-κB signaling in breast tumorigenesis. Its methylation could be a potential tumor biomarker for breast cancer.
ADAMTS18 is frequently silenced by promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer. ADAMTS18 functions as an antimetastatic tumor suppressor in breast cancer cells, through deregulating AKT and NF-kB signaling.