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J Surg Res. 2014 Mar;187(1):19-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.11.001. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 mediates murine colon adenocarcinoma invasion.

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Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado, Denver Campus, Denver, Colorado.
Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado, Denver Campus, Denver, Colorado. Electronic address:



Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) modulates cell-cell adhesion and is a receptor for cognate ligands on leukocytes. Upregulation of ICAM-1 has been demonstrated in malignant transformation of adenomas and is associated with poor prognosis for many malignancies. ICAM-1 is upregulated on the invasive front of pancreatic metastases and melanomas. These data suggest that the upregulated ICAM-1 expression promotes malignant progression. We hypothesize that the downregulation of ICAM-1 will mitigate tumor progression.


Mouse colon adenocarcinoma cells (MC38) were evaluated for the expression of ICAM-1 using Western immunoblot analysis. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA) transduction was used to downregulate ICAM-1. Tumor invasion determined via a modified Boyden chamber was used as a surrogate of tumor progression examining MC38 cells, MC38 ICAM-1 knockdowns, and MC38 transduced with vehicle control. The cells were cultured in full media for 24 h and serum-starved for 24 h. A total of 5 × 10(4) cells were plated and allowed to migrate for 24 h using full media with 10% fetal bovine serum as a chemoattractant. Inserts were fixed and stained with crystal violet. Blinded investigators counted the cells using a stereomicroscope. Statistical analysis was performed by analysis of variance with Fischer protected least significant difference and a P value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant.


ICAM-1 was constitutively expressed on MC38 cells. Transduction with anti-ICAM-1 shRNA vector downregulated ICAM-1 protein expression by 30% according to the Western blot analysis (P < 0.03) and decreased ICAM-1 messenger RNA expression by 70% according to the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. shRNA knockdown cells had a significant reduction in invasion >45% (P < 0.03). There were no significant differences between the invasion rates of MC38 and MC38 vehicle controls.


Downregulation of ICAM-1 mitigates MC38 invasion. These data suggest that targeted downregulation of tumor ICAM-1 is a potential therapeutic target.


Alpha-actinin; Extracellular matrix; Intercellular adhesion-molecule 1; Macrophage; Neutrophil

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