Bone is the most common site of metastases from prostate cancer. The mechanism by which prostate cancer cells metastasize to bone is not fully understood, but interactions between prostate cancer cells and bone cells are thought to initiate the colonization of metastatic cells at that site. Here, we show that cadherin-11 (also known as osteoblast-cadherin) was highly expressed in prostate cancer cell line derived from bone metastases and had strong homophilic binding to recombinant cadherin-11 in vitro. Down-regulation of cadherin-11 in bone metastasis-derived PC3 cells with cadherin-11 -specific short hairpin RNA (PC3-shCad-11) significantly decreased the adhesion of those cells to cadherin-11 in vitro. In a mouse model of metastasis, intracardiac injection of PC3 cells led to metastasis of those cells to bone. However, the incidence of PC3 metastasis to bone in this model was reduced greatly when the expression of cadherin-11 by those cells was silenced. The clinical relevance of cadherin-11 in prostate cancer metastases was further studied by examining the expression of cadherin-11 in human prostate cancer specimens. Cadherin-11 was not expressed by normal prostate epithelial cells but was detected in prostate cancer, with its expression increasing from primary to metastatic disease in lymph nodes and especially bone. Cadherin-11 expression was not detected in metastatic lesions that occur in other organs. Collectively, these findings suggest that cadherin-11 is involved in the metastasis of prostate cancer cells to bone.
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