Inhibition of collagen production delays malignant mesothelioma tumor growth in a murine model

Keith S Abayasiriwardana, Michael K Wood, Cecilia M Prêle, Kimberly A Birnie, Bruce W Robinson, Geoffrey J Laurent, Robin J McAnulty, Steven E Mutsaers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive fibrous tumor, predominantly of the pleura, with a very poor prognosis. Cell-matrix interactions are recognized important determinants of tumor growth and invasiveness but the role of the extracellular matrix in mesothelioma is unknown. Mesothelioma cells synthesize collagen as well as transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), a key regulator of collagen production. This study examined the effect of inhibiting collagen production on mesothelioma cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Collagen production by mesothelioma cells was inhibited by incubating cells in vitro with the proline analogue thiaproline (thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid) or by oral administration of thiaproline in a murine tumor model. Cell cytotoxicity was measured using neutral red uptake and lactate dehydrogenase assays. Proliferation was measured by tritiated thymidine incorporation, and inflammatory cell influx, proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis in tumors examined by immunohistochemical labelling. Tumor size was determined by tumor weight and collagen production was measured by HPLC. Thiaproline at non-toxic doses significantly reduced basal and TGF-β-induced collagen production by over 50% and cell proliferation by over 65%. In vivo thiaproline administration inhibited tumor growth at 10 days, decreasing the median tumor weight by 80%. The mean concentration of collagen was 50% lower in the thiaproline-treated tumors compared with the controls. There were no significant differences in vasculature or inflammatory cell infiltration but apoptosis was increased in thiaproline treated tumors at day 10. In conclusion, these observations strongly support a role for collagen in mesothelioma growth and establish the potential for inhibitors of collagen synthesis in mesothelioma treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-204
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019


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