Elevated expression of cyclooxygenase-2 has been found in colorectal cancer. One of the mechanisms through which cyclooxygenase-2 affects tumorigenesis is through its overexpression, which leads to increased invasiveness of cancer cells. A crucial step in this pathway is thought to be the induction of membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase, which activates matrix metalloproteinase-2. However, to date there have been few clinicopathologic studies concerning cyclooxygenase-2-mediated invasiveness in human colorectal cancer tissues.Methods:
We performed immunohistochemical analysis of the respective antigens on colorectal cancer specimens obtained by surgical resections from 96 patients with colorectal cancer.Results:
Cyclooxygenase-2 and membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase expression was positive exclusively in cancer cells in 88 cases (92 percent) and 23 cases (24 percent), respectively. All 23 cases expressing membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase also expressed cyclooxygenase-2. Matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression was positive in cancer cells in 20 cases (21 percent) and stromal cells in 52 cases (54 percent). Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 in cancer cells correlated with lymphatic invasion and local recurrence. Statistically, a significant correlation was found between cyclooxygenase-2 and membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase expression, and membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase and matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression in cancer cells. There was no association between cyclooxygenase-2 expression and matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression. However, immunostaining of serial sections revealed that in the majority of cases examined, nearly 100 percent of cancer cells expressing matrix metalloproteinase-2 also coexpressed cyclooxygenase-2.Conclusions:
This study indicates strong association between both cyclooxygenase-2 and membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase expression, and membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase and matrix metalloproteinase-2 in colorectal cancer. These results support our thesis of a direct correlation between cyclooxygenase-2 and membrane-type-1 matrix metalloproteinase expression—with consequent association between cyclooxygenase-2 and matrix metalloproteinase-2 activation, and tumor invasiveness andrecurrence in certain cases of colorectal cancer.