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Mod Pathol. 1998 Dec;11(12):1189-92.

Expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and LFA-1 in adenocarcinoma of the lung with observations on the expression of these adhesion molecules in non-neoplastic lung tissue.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, USA.


Intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1), and the lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA-1) are cell adhesion molecules thought to play an important role in the complex process of airway inflammation and tumor cell growth. The aim of this study was to examine the distribution of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and LFA-1 in adenocarcinoma of lung and in major cellular compartments of non-neoplastic lung tissue. We examined cellular compartments in tissue from five bronchoalveolar carcinomas, three acinar adenocarcinomas, and one colon cancer metastatic to the lung. The compartments in neoplasms included the tumor cells proper, endothelial cells within the tumor vasculature, tumor stromal cells, and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. The compartments in non-neoplastic lung tissue included lung endothelial cells, pulmonary lymphocytes, interstitial fibroblasts, Type II alveolar pneumocytes, and bronchial epithelial cells. ICAM-1 was expressed in tumor cells from all of the nine adenocarcinomas. In contrast, VCAM-1 expression was not identified in tumor cells from any of the nine adenocarcinomas. ICAM-1 was expressed in all cellular compartments of the non-neoplastic lung tissue, whereas VCAM-1 was expressed only in pulmonary lymphocytes and interstitial fibroblastic cells. LFA-1 was uniformly expressed in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes from each of the nine tumors and all of the lymphocytes in non-neoplastic lung tissue. This study showed major differences in the expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 in tumor cells from pulmonary adenocarcinoma and also provided evidence for a wider distribution of ICAM-1, compared with VCAM-1, in non-neoplastic cellular compartments of the lung. ICAM-1 expression was particularly noticeable in bronchial and alveolar epithelial cells. Upregulation of ICAM-1 in pulmonary adenocarcinoma might foster binding by LFA-1-bearing lymphocytes, with a possible impact on the vulnerability of tumor cells to host defense mechanisms.

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