Aberrant glycosylation expressed in specific types of human cancer may define stage, direction, and fate of tumor progression. Well-studied examples are expression of sialosyl-Lewisx or sialosyl-Lewisa in colorectal carcinoma and histo-blood group A and H/Ley in lung cancer. In renal cell carcinoma (RCC), expression of sialosyl-Lewisx has no correlation with metastatic potential. Clinicopathological studies have revealed that the degree of expression of disialosyl galactosylgloboside (DSGG) and monosialosyl galactosylgloboside is correlated with metastatic potential (to lung and lymph nodes) of RCC and inversely correlated with patient survival. In the present study, we compared the adhesion of RCC lines to sections of various tissues measured by Stamper-Woodruff assay and other similar assays under dynamic flow conditions. Of the eight RCC lines tested, only TOS-1 (which expresses DSGG) bound strongly to lung tissue sections. TOS-1 did not bind to sections of liver, kidney, or lymph nodes. In the same eight RCC lines, we also compared expression of DSGG and monosialosyl galactosylgloboside (reflected by reactivity with RM1 and RM2), overall ganglioside patterns, and correlation with lung tissue-binding ability. Under both static and dynamic flow conditions, the binding of TOS-1 cells to lung alveolar tissue was correlated with their DSGG expression, i.e., the binding was inhibited by RM2 but not by RM1. This binding was also inhibited by sialidase but not by EDTA (i.e., it was CA2+ independent). The other seven cell lines (TOS-2, TOS-M, SMKT-R1, -R2, -R3, and -R4, and ACHN), which do not express DSGG, showed much weaker adhesion to lung tissue. None of the eight cell lines showed E- or P-selectin-dependent adhesion. These results suggest the existence of a yet-uncharacterized sialoadhesive receptor that specifically recognizes DSGG. This receptor could be the binding target in RCC metastasis to lung.

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