, Volume 34, Issue 1-2, pp 67-77

Expression of Cell Adhesion Molecules, their Ligands and Tumour Necrosis Factor α in the Liver of Patients with Metastatic Gastrointestinal Carcinomas

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Abstract

The expression of the following cell adhesion molecules, their β1 and β2 integrin ligands and the cytokine tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) was investigated by light and electron microscope immunohistochemistry in the liver tissue in 20 patients with colorectal and gastric cancer also presenting with liver metastases: intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular endothelial adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), E-selectin, leucocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1), macrophage antigen-1 (Mac-1), and very late antigen-4 (VLA-4). We have found a parallel enhancement of the adhesion molecules and of TNF-α in liver sinusoids surrounding metastases. The expression of ICAM-1 was enhanced on sinusoidal cells in all zones of the acinus. VCAM-1 immune reactivity was diffuse but less intensive in the lobule. E-selectin expression was observed in sinusoidal cells attached to metastases. In tumour metastases the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin was visible on the tumour vascular endothelium. Tumour infiltrating host cells sowing positive immunoreactivity for ICAM-1, VCAM-1, LFA-1, Mac-1, and VLA-4 were located mainly at the boundary between liver parenchyma and the metastasis. At the ultrastructural level, ICAM-1-positive immune deposits were observed on the cellular membrane and in some transport vesicles of gastric metastatic cells. Further, the expression of all adhesion molecules was confirmed to sinusoidal endothelial cells and tumour vessels. It is concluded that the enhanced expression of adhesion molecules in liver sinusoids could be a marker for the assessment of the ability of sinusoidal endothelial cells to control the recruitment of leukocytes and monocytes to the metastatic site. They could also direct the adhesion of new circulating tumour cells to sinusoidal endothelium.