Soluble ICAM-1 in breast cancer: clinical significance and biological implications
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Objectives: In previous experiments, we demonstrated a decreased expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) on both tumour cells and antigen-presenting cells derived from patients with breast cancer, resulting in an abrogation of antigen presentation and tumour cell lysis. Recently, increased levels of a soluble isoform of ICAM-1 (sICAM-1) have been detected in the sera of breast cancer patients. The present investigation was performed in order to investigate the biological relevance of serum concentrations and the effects of sICAM-1 in patients with breast cancer. Patients and methods: sICAM-1 was determined using a sandwich enzyme immunoassay on sera from 88 patients with various stages of breast cancer and correlated with clinical parameters. The effect of sICAM-1 present in the sera of patients with breast cancer upon unspecific and anti-Her-2/neu antibody-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), as well as upon antigen presentation, was determined using a 51Cr-release assay and [3H]-thymidine-uptake of T cells after co-incubation with tetanus-toxoid-pulsed antigen-presenting cells. Results: In patients with early breast cancer, serum levels of sICAM-1 were significantly lower compared to patients with metastatic disease, but did not correlate with usual clinical parameters. In patients with metastatic breast cancer, a significant correlation of sICAM-1 with tumour markers CEA and CA 15-3 was observed. No influence of sICAM-1 upon unspecific cytotoxicity, ADCC, or the ability to present antigen was observed. Discussion: The origin of sICAM-1 in the sera of patients with breast cancer remains unknown. In contrast to its membrane-bound isoform, sICAM-1 was increased in the sera of patients with various stages of breast cancer, but its presence did not influence unspecific cytotoxicity, ADCC, or antigen-induced T cell proliferation.
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