Aims: Two different pathways of linoleic acid (LA) metabolism have opposite effects on the development of colonic cancer: a protumoral prostaglandin cascade metabolized by cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and an antitumoral peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma ligands metabolized by 15-lipooxygenase (LOX)-1. The aim was to examine the switching of the two LA metabolic pathways in colonic adenomas and carcinomas.
Materials and methods: The expression of 15LOX-1 mRNA and COX-2 protein was examined in 54 adenomas, 21 pTis carcinoma-in-adenoma lesions and 36 pT3/p Stage II carcinomas of the colon by in-situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, respectively.
Results: 15LOX-1 expression was found in 89% (48 of 54) of adenomas, 43% (nine of 21) of adenomas and 10% (two of 21) of carcinomas in carcinoma-in-adenoma lesions, but not in pT3 carcinomas (P < 0.0001). In contrast, COX-2 production was found in 11% (six of 54) of adenomas, 52% (11 of 21) of adenomas and 71% (15 of 21) of carcinomas in carcinoma-in-adenoma lesions, and 92% (33 of 36) of pT3 carcinomas (P < 0.0001). Concurrence of 15LOX-1 down-regulation and COX-2 up-regulation was found in 6% (three of 54) of adenomas, 33% (seven of 21) of adenomas and 71% (15 of 21) of carcinomas in carcinoma-in-adenoma lesions, and 92% (33 of 36) of pT3 carcinomas (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: These results suggest that switching of LA metabolism by reversal of the expression of 15LOX-1 and COX-2 is associated with acquisition of malignant potential in colonic neoplasia.