Monocytes are known to differentiate into tissue-specific macrophages in response to the tissue environment, and it has been suggested that tumor-associated macrophages might promote angiogenesis. Therefore, the factors associated with monocyte differentiation into tumor-associated macrophages may become new targets for cancer therapy. However, these factors remain unclear in human colon cancer. The aim of this study was to identify the factors associated with human monocyte differentiation into tumor-associated macrophages at human colon cancer sites.
Materials and methods: A human monocyte cell line (THP-1) was co-cultured with a human colon cancer cell line (DLD-1) and mRNA expression was analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR.
Results: In THP-1 cells, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 mRNA expression increased in a time-dependent manner from day 3 after co-culture with DLD-1 cells; furthermore, expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-8 mRNA was increased from day 5. This increase in mRNA expression in the THP-1 cells was attributable to the presence of the DLD-1 cells. Therefore, MCP-1, VEGF-A, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-8 are suggested to be associated with differentiation of human monocytes into tumor-associated macrophages at human colon cancer sites.