Cancer and Metastasis Reviews

, Volume 37, Issue 2–3, pp 347–354 | Cite as

Role of prostaglandins in tumor microenvironment

  • Koji Kobayashi
  • Keisuke Omori
  • Takahisa MurataEmail author


Tumor tissue is composed of tumor cells and surrounding non-tumor endothelial and immune cells, collectively known as the tumor microenvironment. Tumor cells manipulate tumor microenvironment to obtain sufficient oxygen and nutrient supply, and evade anti-tumor immunosurveillance. Various types of signaling molecules, including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, and lipid mediators, are secreted, which co-operate to make up the complex tumor microenvironment. Prostaglandins, cyclooxygenase metabolites of arachidonic acid, are abundantly produced in tumor tissues. Ever since treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs showed anti-tumor effect in mouse models and human patients by inhibiting whole prostaglandin production, investigators have focused on the importance of prostaglandins in tumor malignancies. However, most studies that followed focused on the role of an eminent prostaglandin, prostaglandin E2, in tumor onset, growth, and metastasis. It remained unclear how other prostaglandin species affected tumor malignancies. Recently, we identified prostaglandin D2, a well-known sleep-inducing prostaglandin, as a factor with strong anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor properties, in genetically modified mice. In this review, we summarize recent studies focusing on the importance of prostaglandins and their metabolites in the tumor microenvironment.


Prostaglandin Tumor microenvironment Angiogenesis Tumor immunity 


Funding information

This study is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Futaba Electronics Memorial Foundation, Hoyu Science Foundation, the Naito Foundation, the Nipponham Foundation, and the Skylark Food Science Institute.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koji Kobayashi
    • 1
  • Keisuke Omori
    • 1
  • Takahisa Murata
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Animal Radiology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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