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Abstract. Objectives: The ADAMs (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase) enzymes compose a family of membrane-bound proteins characterized by their multi-domain structure and ADAM-12 expression is elevated in human non-small cell lung cancers. The aim of this study was to investigate the roles played by ADAM-12 in critical steps of bronchial cell transformation during carcinogenesis. Materials and methods: To assess the role of ADAM-12 in tumorigenicity, BEAS-2B cells were transfected with a plasmid encoding human full-length ADAM-12 cDNA, and then the effects of ADAM-12 overexpression on cell behaviour were explored. Treatment of clones with heparin-binding epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like growth factor (HB-EGF) neutralizing antibodies as well as an EGFR inhibitor allowed the dissection of mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and apoptosis. Results: Overexpression of ADAM-12 in BEAS-2B cells promoted cell proliferation. ADAM-12 overexpressing clones produced higher quantities of HB-EGF in their culture medium which may rely on membrane-bound HB-EGF shedding by ADAM-12. Targeting HB-EGF activity with a neutralizing antibody abrogated enhanced cell proliferation in the ADAM-12 overexpressing clones. In sharp contrast, targeting of amphiregulin, EGF or transforming growth factor-α failed to influence cell proliferation; moreover, ADAM-12 transfectants were resistant to etoposide-induced apoptosis and the use of a neutralizing antibody against HB-EGF activity restored rates of apoptosis to be similar to controls.Conclusions: ADAM-12 contributes to enhancing HB-EGF shedding from plasma membranes leading to increased cell proliferation and reduced apoptosis in this bronchial epithelial cell line.