Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs attenuate proliferation of colonic carcinoma cells by blocking epidermal growth factor-induced Ca++ mobilization

J Gastrointest Surg. Mar-Apr 2000;4(2):150-61. doi: 10.1016/s1091-255x(00)80051-7.


Numerous studies suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis. We have previously reported that NSAIDs, in human colonic carcinoma cells (Caco-2), attenuate epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced cellular proliferation through a process independent of their inhibitory effects on prostaglandin synthesis. Furthermore, separate studies have also suggested that NSAIDs inhibit EGF-induced store-operated Ca++ influx. Thus we developed the hypothesis that NSAIDs may limit the activity of EGF by altering intracellular Ca++ ([Ca++]i) mobilization. Serum-deprived Caco-2 cells were employed for all experimentation. [Ca++]i was measured with Fluo-3 and extracellular Ca++ influx was monitored by quenching Fluo-3 fluorescence with Mn++. Proliferation was quantitated with two assays: cellular nucleic acid and total protein content. Caco-2 cells exposed to EGF demonstrated an initial increase in [Ca++]i which was blocked by neomycin, an inhibitor of IPsubscript 3 generation, and the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122 but not U73343 (inactive control). This was followed by sustained extracellular Ca++ influx, which was attenuated with calcium-free buffer (-Ca++), the store- operated Ca++ channel blocker lanthanum, indomethacin, ibuprofen, and aspirin. In subsequent studies, cells were treated with either serum-free media or EGF +/- the aforementioned inhibitors, and again serum starved. Cells exposed to EGF +/- the inactive phospholipase C inhibitor U73343 demonstrated a significant increase in nucleic acid and protein. However, proliferation induced by EGF was not observed when [Ca++]i elevation was prevented by blocking either internal Ca++ store release via phospholipase C/IPsubscript 3 or sustained Ca++ influx through store-operated Ca++ channels. Sustained [Ca++]i elevation, as induced by EGF, appears to be required for mitogenesis. These data support our premise that one mechanism whereby NSAIDs may attenuate colonic neoplasia is by blocking EGF-induced Ca++ mobilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Caco-2 Cells / drug effects
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Calcium