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Int J Cancer. 1999 Sep 9;82(6):880-5.

Carcino-embryonic antigen may function as a chemo-attractant in colorectal-carcinoma cell lines.

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Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine and Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Locomotion of colorectal-carcinoma cells was tested in order to establish whether it might be affected by carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA). CEA production, cell growth and DNA ploidy were measured in 22 colorectal-carcinoma cell lines. A cell-invasion assay was adapted using a transfilter chamber, the lower surface of which was coated with various substrates in the amount of 5 microgram/filter (CEA, type-IV collagen, laminin). Cells infiltrated into the lower surface of the filter were counted over 9-microscope fields (x400). All cell lines produced CEA, 9 producing more than 100 ng/ml medium. Of the total, 8 cell lines were diploid and 14 were aneuploid. Invasiveness, measured by the number of infiltrated cells, was highest in CEA-coated filters, and next highest in type-IV-collagen- and laminin-coated filters, in descending order (p < 0.001-0.05). Invasiveness of each cell line was closely correlated with 2 substrates. Poorly differentiated or advanced-stage tumors were more invasive than well-differentiated or early-stage tumors (p < 0.001-0. 05). However, invasiveness was not associated with DNA ploidy or CEA production. CEA may function as a chemo-attractant as well as an adhesion molecule in colorectal-carcinoma cell lines. In addition, adhesion to CEA appears to be related to type-IV collagen and laminin.

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