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Involvement of Chemokine Receptor CCR6 in Colorectal Cancer MetastasisRubie C.a · Oliveira V.a · Kempf K.a · Wagner M.c · Tilton B.a · Rau B.a · Kruse B.a · König J.b · Schilling M.a
aDepartment of General, Visceral, Vascular and Pediatric Surgery, bInstitute of Medical Biometrics, Epidemiology and Medical Informatics (IMBEI), and cInstitute of Pathology, University of the Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany
Various chemokine receptors, namely CXCR4, CCR6 and CCR7, have recently been shown to be involved in the regulation of metastasis in malignant tumors. However, little is known about the role of these receptors in promoting tumor metastasis of colorectal cancer (CRC) to the primary site of CRC metastasis in the liver. To investigate this issue, we analyzed the expression of the chemokine receptors CXCR4, CCR6 and CCR7 in colorectal tumors and colorectal liver metastases. In the present study, 30 human cancer samples from colorectal tissue, 30 human samples from colorectal liver metastases and the adjacent nontumorous liver tissues were screened using quantitative real-time PCR, Western blot analysis, histochemistry, microdissection and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). While an overexpression of all the chemokine receptors was found in CRC, in colorectal liver metastases only the chemokine receptors CXCR4 and CCR6 were significantly upregulated. Consequently, we investigated the expression of the corresponding ligands CXCL12/SDF1α, CCL20/MIP3α, CCL19/MIP3β and CCL21/6Ckine in various organs, such as the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, in comparison with their expression in the liver as the primary site of metastatic spread in CRC. We found that only CCL20 exhibits peak levels of expression in the liver, thus indicating that an increased production of CCL20 may contribute to the selective recruitment of CCR6-expressing cancer cells in CRC. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that CRC patients who developed liver metastases express significantly more CCL20 and CCL21 in the liver in comparison with an unaffected control group. Therefore, our findings strongly suggest an association between CCL20/CCR6 expression in human CRC and the promotion of colorectal liver metastasis.
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