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Cancer Res. 2002 Mar 1;62(5):1567-72.

Cyclooxygenase-2 activity altered the cell-surface carbohydrate antigens on colon cancer cells and enhanced liver metastasis.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) was recently reported (M. Tsujii and R. N. DuBois, Cell, 83: 493-501, 1995) to affect the metastatic potential of cells. Previous studies (M. Fukuda, Cancer Res., 56: 2237-2244, 1996) indicated that sialyl Lewis antigen expression is correlated with hematogenous metastasis of colon cancer. In the present study, we investigated the interaction between COX-2 activity, expression of sialyl Lewis antigens, in vitro cancer cell adhesion to endothelial cells, and in vivo metastatic potential. Effects of COX-2 activity and prostaglandin E(2) on cell adhesion, expression of sialyl Lewis antigens, and glycosyltransferase genes were determined in Caco-2-m (COX-2 low level), Caco-2-COX-2 (programmed to overexpress COX-2), and HT-29 (COX-2 high level) cells. Metastatic spread of these cells to the liver was also investigated. Caco-2-COX-2 cells had increased SPan-1 levels and increased adherence to endothelial cells via SPan-1 compared with Caco-2-m cells. HT-29 cells expressed sialyl Lewis a and adhered to endothelial cells via sialyl Lewis a. Treatment with a COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib, decreased SPan-1 and sialyl Lewis a expression and adherence to endothelial cells. beta 3Gal-T5 and ST3Gal III and IV expression was inhibited by celecoxib and was enhanced by prostaglandin E(2) treatment. Caco-2-COX-2 and HT-29 cells metastasized to the liver, whereas Caco-2-m cells did not. Pretreatment with celecoxib reduced the metastatic potential as well as anti-sialyl Lewis antibodies. Our results indicate a direct link between COX-2 and enhanced adhesion of carcinoma cells to endothelial cells, and enhanced liver metastatic potential via accelerated production of sialyl Lewis antigens. COX-2 inhibitors may suppress metastasis.

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