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We examined the effects of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) on the lung cancer cell lines PC-9, LA-1 and A549. In addition, we examined if the effects of the cytokines on the cell lines might be mediated by activation of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. The three cell lines did not constitutively produce either G-CSF and GM-CSF. G-CSF did not influence cell growth in the three cell lines, while GM-CSF increased cell growth in the A549 and LA-1 lines. G-CSF and GM-CSF dose-dependently decreased cell death in the three cell lines. RT-PCR demonstrated GM-CSF receptor expression in the three lung cancer cell lines, whereas the G-CSF receptor was in only the PC-9 line. We suggest that G-CSF might rescue the tumor cells from cytotoxicity due to serum deprivation through cellular pathways independent of the G-CSF receptor. G-CSF and GM-CSF increased cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in PC-9 and LA-1 cells whereas they decreased COX-2 expression in A549 cells. The COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 increased cell death in PC-9 and LA-1 cells, whereas it decreased cell death in A549 cells. PC-9 and LA-1 clones transfected with sense G-CSF- or GM-CSF showed increase in COX-2 expression, while COX-2 expression was decreased in transfected A549 clones. COX-2 expression was increased in anti-sense G-CSF- and GM-CSF-transfected A549 clones. Thus, although COX-2 activation seems to induce different biological behaviors depending on cell type, we propose that G-CSF and GM-CSF might accelerate tumor progression by directly regulating COX-2 expression, independently of an autocrine mechanism.

98th AACR Annual Meeting-- Apr 14-18, 2007; Los Angeles, CA