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Am J Pathol. 2002 Mar;160(3):1129-41.

Frequent co-localization of Cox-2 and laminin-5 gamma2 chain at the invasive front of early-stage lung adenocarcinomas.

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Pathology and Biology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


Laminin-5 is an extracellular matrix protein that plays a key role in cell migration and tumor invasion. Cox-2 is an induced isoform of cyclooxygenases that plays an important role in carcinogenesis, suppression of apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastasis of colon cancer. We report frequent co-expression of cox-2 and laminin-5 at the invasive front of early-stage lung adenocarcinomas. We investigated the expression of cox-2 and laminin-5 immunohistochemically in 102 cases of small-sized lung adenocarcinoma (maximum dimension, 2 cm or less). Cox-2 and laminin-5 were expressed in 97 (95.1%) and 82 (80.4%) cases, respectively. Both were preferentially localized in cancer cells at the cancer-stroma interface, although cox-2 tended to show a diffuse staining pattern in some cases. A comparison of their staining patterns revealed a striking similarity in their distribution in 24 cases, and a partial overlap between their localization in another 20 cases. Moreover, an overall correlation was found between the expression levels of cox-2 and laminin-5 (P = 0.018). To gain insight into the mechanisms that regulate the expression of these proteins, we additionally studied their expression in 58 cases of stage I lung adenocarcinoma, in which p53 status was determined by immunohistochemistry, polymerase chain reaction-single strand conformation polymorphism analysis, and direct sequencing. The results showed that tumors with mutant p53 tended to express more cox-2 than those with wild-type p53 (P = 0.080). Also, tumors that overexpressed p53 had higher levels of cox-2 and laminin-5 than those without p53 overexpression (P = 0.032 and 0.047, respectively). Further immunohistochemical analysis showed that tumors that overexpressed both epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and erbB-2 had higher levels of cox-2 and laminin-5 than those without concomitant overexpression of these proteins (P = 0.014 and P = 0.018, respectively). To see whether EGFR signaling is involved in cox-2 and laminin-5 expression, we further conducted in vitro analyses using six lung adenocarcinoma cell lines (A549, HLC-1, ABC-1, LC-2/ad, VMRC-LCD, and L27). Western blot analyses showed that cox-2 mRNA levels, and to a lesser extent laminin-5 gamma2 mRNA levels, correlated with the expression levels of erbB-2 and the phosphorylated form of MAPK/ERK-1/2 protein. The addition of transforming growth factor-alpha increased both cox-2 and laminin-5 gamma2 mRNA levels in A549, ABC-1, and L27 with different kinetics; the induction of cox-2 occurred earlier than that of laminin-5 gamma2. Finally, the migration of ABC-1 cells was inhibited by MAP kinase kinase inhibitor PD98059 and a selective cox-2 inhibitor NS-398. In contrast, the migration of A549 cells was inhibited by PD98059, but much less effectively by NS-398. These results suggest that co-stimulatory mechanisms may exist that increase the expression of cox-2 and laminin-5 at the invasive front of lung adenocarcinomas and that EGFR signaling could be one of the mechanisms. Further investigations are warranted concerning the role of cox-2 and laminin-5 in cancer cell invasion and the significance of p53 and EGFR signaling in the regulation of cox-2 and laminin-5 expression.

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