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Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Oct 15;718(1-3):408-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Aug 22.

Induction of cyclooxygenase-2 expression by prostaglandin E2 stimulation of the prostanoid EP4 receptor via coupling to Gαi and transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor in HCA-7 human colon cancer cells.

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Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8675, Japan.


Increased expressions of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and its downstream metabolite, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), are well documented events in the development of colorectal cancer. Interestingly, PGE2 itself can induce the expression of COX-2 thereby creating the potential for positive feedback. Although evidence for such a positive feedback has been previously described, the specific E-type prostanoid (EP) receptor subtype that mediates this response, as well as the relevant signaling pathways, remain unclear. We now report that the PGE2 stimulated induction of COX-2 expression in human colon cancer HCA-7 cells is mediated by activation of the prostanoid EP4 receptor subtype and is followed by coupling of the receptor to Gαi and the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Subsequent activation of metalloproteinases releases membrane bound heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor resulting in the transactivation of epidermal growth factor receptors and the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases and induction of COX-2 expression. This induction of COX-2 expression by PGE2 stimulation of the prostanoid EP4 receptor may underlie the upregulation of COX-2 during colorectal cancer and appears to be an early event in the process of tumorigenesis.


Colon cancer; Cyclooxygenase-2; G(αi); Human prostanoid EP4 receptor; PGE(2); Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; Prostaglandin E(2)

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