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Cellular Oncology
Volume 29 (2007), Issue 6, Pages 477-482

EGF-R is Expressed and AP-1 and NF-κ:B Are Activated in Stromal Myofibroblasts Surrounding Colon Adenocarcinomas Paralleling Expression of COX-2 and VEGF

Panagiotis A. Konstantinopoulos,1,2 Gerasimos P. Vandoros,3 Michalis V. Karamouzis,1,4 Maria Gkermpesi,3 Georgia Sotiropoulou-Bonikou,5 and Athanasios G. Papavassiliou1

1Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
2Division of Hematology–Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
3Department of Pathology, Aeghion General Hospital, Aeghion, Greece
4Division of Hematology–Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
5Department of Anatomy and Histology–Embryology, School of Medicine, University of Patras, Patras, Greece

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: COX-2 and VEGF are important triggers of colon cancer growth, metastasis and angiogenesis. Cox-2 promoter contains transcriptional regulatory elements for AP-1 and NF-κ:B transcription factors whilst vegf is a known AP-1 downstream target gene. We investigated whether stromal myofibroblasts surrounding colon adenocarcinomas express COX-2 and VEGF and whether activation of AP-1 and NF-κ:B, as well as expression of EGF-R parallel expression of COX-2 and VEGF in these cells. Methods: Immunohistochemical methodology was performed on archival sections from 40 patients with colon adenocarcinomas. We evaluated c-FOS, p-c-JUN (phosphorylated c-JUN), p-Iκ:B-α (phosphorylated Iκ:B-α), EGF-R, COX-2, NF-κ:B and VEGF expression in stromal myofibroblasts surrounding colon adenocarcinomas. Double immunostaining with a-smooth muscle actin and each antibody was done to verify the expression of these molecules in stromal myofibroblasts. Results: VEGF, p-Iκ:B-α, NF-κ:B, c-FOS, p-c-JUN, EGF-R and COX-2 were expressed in stromal myofibroblasts surrounding colon adenocarcinomas in the majority of cases. EGF-R, p-Iκ:B-α, NF-κ:B, c-FOS and p-c-JUN correlated positively with COX-2 and VEGF expression. Conclusion: Stromal myofibroblasts surrounding colon adenocarcinomas are an important source of VEGF and COX-2 production, while AP-1 and NF-κ:B transcription factors are activated and EGF-R is expressed in these cells and associated with COX-2 and VEGF production.