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Oncol Lett. 2013 Feb;5(2):645-650. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Endogenous PGE(2) induces MCP-1 expression via EP4/p38 MAPK signaling in melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, First Hospital of China Medical University, Liaoning 110001, P.R. China.


It has been demonstrated that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is expressed in melanoma tissues and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) is produced by melanoma cells in vitro. However, the roles of COX-2/PGE(2) in melanoma are largely unknown. In the present study, we set out to analyze the correlation of endogenous PGE(2) with the expression of macrophage chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and to identify the signaling pathway involved. It was found that MCP-1 mRNA was heterogeneously expressed in 18 melanoma tissue specimens, and the levels of MCP-1 mRNA were positively correlated with those of COX-2 mRNA. Inhibition of endogenous PGE(2) production by a COX-2 inhibitor, COX-2 siRNA or an NFκB inhibitor suppressed MCP-1 expression, whereas treatment with TNF-α (to stimulate endogenous PGE(2) production) or exogenous PGE(2) enhanced MCP-1 expression in melanoma cells. Both the EP4 antagonist and the p38 MAPK inhibitor reduced MCP-1 production in melanoma cells, and abrogated the increased MCP-1 secretion induced by TNF-α or exogenous PGE(2). Conditioned medium from melanoma cells promoted macrophage migration, which was blocked by inhibitors of the PGE(2)/EP4/p38 MAPK signaling pathway. These results indicate that endogenous PGE(2) induces MCP-1 expression via EP4/p38 MAPK signaling in an autocrinal manner in melanoma, and melanoma cell-derived PGE(2) may be involved in macrophage recruitment in the melanoma microenvironment.


cyclooxygenase-2; macrophage chemoattractant protein 1; prostaglandin E

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