Expression of alpha 3 beta 1 integrin receptor and its ligands in human lung tumors

Int J Cancer. 1995 Aug 22;64(4):248-52. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910640407.


Increasing experimental evidence demonstrates that malignant transformation is associated with changes in the repertoire of expression of the integrin family of molecules, which mediate cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions. We have analyzed immunohistochemically and immunochemically the expression of VLA-3 integrin and its known ligands, namely, laminin (LM), fibronectin (FN), collagen type IV (Coll IV), nicein (NIC), and entactin/nidogen (ENT), in lung tumors of various histological types. alpha 3 beta 1 was detectable in normal bronchial epithelium and along basement membranes of alveolar walls. In non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) the integrin was expressed in 82% of the cases, independently of histological type and degree of differentiation of the tumors. On the other hand, only 13% of the small cell lung carcinomas (SCLC) displayed a weak and heterogeneous distribution of the alpha 3 beta 1 complex. Our findings were confirmed immunochemically using long-term tumor cell lines. While the expression of both alpha 3 beta 1 and ligands LM, FN, Coll IV, and Ent correlated in NSCLC with the presence of basement membranes, FN was the only ligand detectable in the stroma of SCLCs. A selective loss of nicein in basement membranes was demonstrated in NSCLC indicating an impairment of expression of this glycoprotein following malignant transformation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kalinin
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Receptors, Very Late Antigen / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Fibronectins
  • Laminin
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Very Late Antigen
  • nidogen
  • Collagen