ICAM-1 expression determines malignant potential of cancer

Surgery. 2007 Jun;141(6):705-7. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2007.01.016.


Solid tumor cells bind to ICAM-1 on endothelial surfaces via MUC-1. Tumor binding to ICAM-1 auto-upregulates tumor ICAM-1 at the leading edge of the tumor and promotes release of chemoattractants for circulating macrophages, and circulating macrophages bind to tumor-expressed ICAM-1, invoking propagation of further chemokines and cytokines that recruit neutrophils. Tight adherence between cell surface ligands on neutrophils and tumor-expressed ICAM-1 activates neutrophils to degranulate, releasing elastases, which break down endovascular and endolymphatic barriers permitting transendothelial tumor cell migration. Consequently, tumor cell ICAM-1 expression dictates metastatic potential and metastatic potential determines cancer lethality.

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Cytokines
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1