Background: Aim of this study was to assess the biological function in tumor progression and metastatic process carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAM) 1, 5 and 6 in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
Experimental design: CEACAM knock down cells were established and assessed in vitro and in a subcutaneous and intraperitoneal mouse xenograft model. Tissue and serum expression of patients with PDAC were assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and by enzyme linked immunosorbent assays.
Results: Presence of lymph node metastasis was correlated with CEACAM 5 and 6 expression (determined by IHC) and tumor recurrence exclusively with CEACAM 6. Patients with CEACAM 5 and 6 expression showed a significantly shortened OS in Kaplan-Meier survival analyses. Elevated CEACAM6 serum values showed a correlation with distant metastasis and. Survival analysis revealed a prolonged OS for patients with low serum CEACAM 1 values. In vitro proliferation and migration capacity was increased in CEACAM knock down PDAC cells, however, mice inoculated with CEACAM knock down cells showed a prolonged overall-survival (OS). The number of spontaneous pulmonary metastasis was increased in the CEACAM knock down group.
Conclusion: The effects mediated by CEACAM expression in PDAC are complex, though overexpression is correlated with loco-regional aggressive tumor growth. However, loss of CEACAM can be considered as a part of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and is therefore of rather importance in the process of distant metastasis.