Tumor metastasis is determined by the metastatic capacity of subpopulations of tumor cells. The presence of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) is a property of tumor cells that is essential for metastasis. MCAM (MUC18 or Mel-CAM) was identified on melanoma cells and is one of several CAMs that belong to the immunoglobulin superfamily. MCAM is an integral membrane glycoprotein that consists of five immunoglobulin-like domains, a transmembrane region, and a short cytoplasmic domain. The presence of several protein kinase recognition motifs in the cytoplasmic domain suggest a role for MCAM in signal transduction. MCAM is capable of both homotypic and heterotypic adhesion between cells, but its heterotypic ligand remains to be identified. It is sparsely expressed on benign melanocytic nevi and thin primary melanomas. However, MCAM expression increases with tumor thickness. It is expressed on 70-80% of advanced primary and metastatic tumors. Additionally, S-Endo-1 antigen (CD146), present on human endothelial cells, is identical to MCAM. Thus, MCAM may play an important role in the development of metastatic tumors and possibly represents a prime target for therapeutic treatment.
This antibody is routinely tested by western blot analysis. Other applications were tested at BD Biosciences Pharmingen during antibody development only or reported in the literature.