The mechanism of intrasinusoidal arrest of circulating cancer cells, which is a critical step in liver metastasis, appears to be facilitated by tumor-derived proinflammatory factors that increase sinusoidal cell adhesion receptors for cancer cells. However, how this prometastatic microenvironment is up-regulated remains unknown. Using intrasplenically injected B16 melanoma (B16M) cells, we show that the expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) significantly increased in hepatic sinusoidal endothelium (HSE) cells over physiologic baseline within the first 24 hours of metastatic cancer cell infiltration in the liver. This correlated with increased in vitro adhesion of B16M cells to HSE cells isolated from B16M cell-injected mice. In vivo VCAM-1 blockade with specific antibodies before B16M cell injection decreased sinusoidal retention of luciferase-transfected B16M cells by 85%, and metastasis development by 75%, indicating that VCAM-1 expression on tumor-activated HSE cells had a prometastatic contribution. Because VCAM-1 expression is oxidative stress-inducible, recombinant catalase was in vivo administered, resulting in a complete abrogation of both VCAM-1 expression and B16M cell adhesion increases in HSE cells isolated from B16M cell-injected mice. Catalase also abrogated the proadhesive response of HSE cells to B16M-conditioned medium (B16M-CM) in vitro, although this did not affect the concomitant release of major proinflammatory cytokines by HSE cells. HSE cells treated with B16M-CM released interleukin (IL)-18 via tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-dependent IL-1beta in vitro. In turn, H(2)O(2) production from B16M-CM-treated HSE cells was regulated by IL-18. Thus, liver-infiltrating B16M cells activated their adhesion to HSE through a sequential process involving TNF-alpha-dependent IL-1beta, which induced IL-18 to up-regulate VCAM-1 via H(2)O(2). The pivotal position of H(2)O(2) was further supported by the fact that incubation of HSE cells with nontoxic concentrations of H(2)O(2) directly enhanced VCAM-1-dependent B16M cell adhesion in vitro without proinflammatory cytokine mediation, which emphasizes the key role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of liver inflammation and metastasis.