Tumor cell/endothelial cell tight contact upregulates endothelial adhesion molecule expression mediated by NFkappaB: differential role of the shear stress

Exp Cell Res. 2010 Feb 15;316(4):615-26. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2009.11.015. Epub 2009 Nov 26.


Cancer metastasis is a multistep process involving cell-cell interactions, but little is known about the adhesive interactions and signaling events during extravasation of tumor cells (TCs). In this study, cell adhesion molecule (CAM) expression was investigated using an in vitro assay, in which TCs were seeded onto an endothelial cell (ECs) monolayer and cocultured during 5 h. Flow cytometry, confocal microscopy as well as western blot analysis indicated that endothelial ICAM-1 (Inter Cellular Adhesion Molecule-1), VCAM-1 (Vascular Adhesion Molecule-1) and E-selectin were up-regulated after TC-EC coculture, whereas no change was observed for CAMs expression in tumor cells. This increased CAMs expression required tight contact between TCs and ECs. Incubation of ECs with the pyrrolidine-dithiocarbamate NFkappaB inhibitor prior to coculture, fully prevented coculture-induced expression of endothelial CAMs. Using specific blocking antibodies we showed an implication of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 for TCs extravasation and VCAM-1 for adhesion. Moreover, fluid flow experiments revealed that high shear stress totally abolished coculture-induced as well as TNFalpha-induced CAMs over-expression. This study suggests that TCs could act as a potent inflammatory stimulus on ECs by inducing CAMs expression via NFkappaB activation, and that this action can be modulated by shear stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Communication*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • E-Selectin / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Mechanical*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects*
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism


  • E-Selectin
  • NF-kappa B
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1