Extracellular RNA (eRNA) released from injured cells promotes tissue permeability, thrombosis, and inflammation in vitro and in vivo, and RNase1 pretreatment can reduce all these effects. In this study, we investigated the role of the eRNA/RNase1 system in tumor progression and metastasis. Under quiescent and stimulatory conditions, tumor cells released much higher levels of endogenous extracellular RNA (eRNA) than nontumor cells. In glioblastomas, eRNA was detected at higher levels in tumors than nontumor tissue. eRNA induced tumor cells to adhere to and migrate through human cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (HCMEC/D3), in a manner requiring activation of VEGF signaling. In addition, eRNA liberated TNF-alpha from macrophages in a manner requiring activation of the TNF-alpha-converting enzyme TACE. Accordingly, supernatants derived from eRNA-treated macrophages enhanced tumor cell adhesion to HCMEC/D3. TNF-alpha release evoked by eRNA relied upon signaling activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases and the NF-kappa B pathway. In subcutaneous xenograft models of human cancer, administration of RNase1 but not DNase decreased tumor volume and weight. Taken together, these results suggest that eRNA released from tumor cells has the capacity to promote tumor cell invasion through endothelial barriers by both direct and indirect mechanisms, including through a mechanism involving TNF-alpha release from tumor-infiltrating monocytes/macrophages. Our findings establish a crucial role for eRNA in driving tumor progression, and they suggest applications for extracellular RNase1 as an antiinvasive regimen for cancer treatment.
2013. Vol. 73, no 16, 5080-5089 p.