Expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors in human colon cancer

Methods Enzymol. 2009;460:105-21. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(09)05205-7.


Human colorectal cancer (CRC), the second largest cause of tumor-related death in Western countries, represents a paradigm for the now well-established connections between inflammation and cancer. In this study, we investigated which inflammatory mediators are mostly expressed in the microenvironment of human CRC. The RNA profile of a large panel of inflammatory genes, in particular chemokines and chemokine receptors, was analyzed in eight surgical tumor samples and in paired normal tissues from CRC patients. We employed an "inflammatory gene card" (TaqMan Low Density Array by Applied Biosystem), designed by our group, containing probes for 24 chemokines and 17 chemokine receptors. Several chemokines were strongly upregulated in the tumor microenvironment, most frequently CCL4 and CCL5, chemotactic for monocytes/macrophages and T cells, and the corresponding receptors CCR1 and CCR5; the angiogenic chemokines CXCL1 and CXCL8, and the receptor CXCR2. The antiangiogenic chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10 were also expressed, but in the absence of the receptor CXCR3. Selected results have been confirmed in a larger number of samples. The levels of mRNA CXCL8 were significantly associated with the levels of osteopontin, a matrix-associated protein that shares with chemokines important functions such as induction of cell migration and survival, and modulation of the neoangiogenesis. Overall these results could be helpful to identify the most relevant inflammatory pathways present in CRC tumors and to build a solid rationale for future therapeutic interventions based on anti-inflammatory strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemokines / genetics
  • Chemokines / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Osteopontin / genetics
  • Osteopontin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Chemokine / genetics
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Chemokines
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Osteopontin