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Int J Cancer. 2004 Feb 10;108(4):516-23.

Regulation of carcinoma cell invasion by protein C inhibitor whose expression is decreased in renal cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pathobiology, Mie University School of Medicine, Tsu-city, Mie, Japan.


Protein C inhibitor (PCI), a member of the serine protease inhibitor family, is produced in various human tissues, including the liver, kidney and testis. In addition to inhibiting the anticoagulant protein C pathway, PCI also inhibits urinary plasminogen activator (uPA), which is a well-known mediator of tumor cell invasion. In the present study, to clarify the biologic significance of PCI in the kidney, we compared the expression of PCI between human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) tissue and nontumor kidney tissue. The PCI antigen level in RCC tissue was found to be significantly lower than in nontumor kidney tissue, and expression of PCI mRNA was detected in normal renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC), but not in RCC or in an RCC cell line (Caki-1 cells). No differences were detected between the nucleotide sequence of the major cis-elements in the promoter region of the PCI gene from nontumor kidney and RCC tissues, RPTEC and Caki-1 cells, an RPTEC-derived RCC cell line. The in vitro invasiveness of Caki-1 cells transfected with a PCI expression vector was significantly decreased compared to mock-transfected Caki-1 cells, and it was blocked in the presence of anti-PCI antibody. Since PCI itself did not affect the proliferation rate of Caki-1 cells or cell expression of uPA in vitro, the effect of uPA, PCI, heat-inactivated PCI and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 on the invasive potential of cultured RCC cells was evaluated. The in vitro invasiveness of Caki-1 cells, which express uPA, was significantly enhanced by the addition of uPA, and it was inhibited by anti-uPA antibody, PCI and PAI-1, but not by heat-inactivated PCI. In addition, uPA activity was significantly decreased and uPA-PCI complex level was significantly increased in the culture medium of PCI expression vector-transfected Caki-1 cells as compared to mock-transfected Caki-1 cells. These findings strongly suggest that PCI regulates the invasive potential of RCC cells by inhibiting uPA secreted by these cells. The results of our study suggest that PCI might be a potential therapeutic agent for inhibiting renal tumor invasion.

Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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