British journal of pharmacology

Synthesis of hyaluronan in oesophageal cancer cells is uncoupled from the prostaglandin-cAMP pathway.

PMID 19338584


Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and hyaluronic acid (HA) are common in tumours and both independently promote tumour progression. Furthermore, COX2-dependent synthesis of prostaglandins (PGs) stimulates HA synthase-1 (HAS1) and HAS2 mRNA expression, together with HA synthesis via the cAMP/protein kinase A pathway in vascular smooth muscle cells. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to elucidate whether COX2-mediated PGs induce transcription of HAS isoforms in cancer cells as well. Human oesophageal squamous cell (OSC) carcinoma specimens were characterized with respect to HA, COX2 and CD44 expression by immunohistochemistry. OSC cell lines (OSC1, OSC2) and HeLa cell lines (D98, H21) were exposed to exogenous PG analoques (100 nmol.L(-1)), etoricoxib (10 micromol.L(-1)) and forskolin (10 micromol.L(-1)). Subsequently, cAMP levels, HA secretion and HAS isoform expression were determined by elisa and real-time RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) respectively. COX2, HA and CD44 were detected immunohistochemically in >90% of human oesophageal tumour samples. Under basal conditions, OSC1 and OSC2 cells express HAS2 and HAS3, COX2 and Galpha(s)-coupled EP(2) and EP(4) PG receptors. Neither stimulation with the PGI(2) analogue, iloprost, addition of exogenous PGE(2) nor forskolin induced HAS1 or HAS2 mRNA expression in OSC1 and OSC2 cells. Furthermore, in HeLa cells after induction of COX2 by tumour necrosis factor alpha and subsequent PGE(2) release, inhibition of COX2 by etoricoxib did not affect HAS expression or HA secretion. We conclude that in oesophageal and HeLa cancer cells, HAS1/2 expression was not responsive to the PG/cAMP pathway.