A murine melanoma variant (B16-F10Ir6), resistant to lymphocytic cytolysis, has been shown previously to produce lower numbers of tumor nodules in the lung of C57BL/6J mice following i.v. inoculations. These differences found in tumor implantation and lymphocyte recognition may be due to changes in surface properties of this cell line. Therefore, membrane-bound sialic acid (released by Vibrio cholerae neuraminidase treatment), ectosialyltransferase activity, and total cellular glycosidase levels were measured in this cell line and compared with levels in its parent melanoma tumor cell line, B16-F10, which was selected for its enhanced ability to form tumor nodules. The results of these studies indicate a correlation between the degree of lung implantation and the amount of tumor cell sialic acid accessible to neuraminidase cleavage, tumor cell surface sialyltransferase activity, and several cellular glycosidase activities. These results are consistent with the idea that membrane structural changes in the glycocalyx may account for the ability of a tumor cell to implant and metastasize.
This work was supported in part by Grants CA-19814 and CA-13038 from the National Cancer Institute, USPHS, Department of Health and Human Services.