Inhibitory effects of anti-CXCR4 antibodies on human colon cancer cells

Alessandro Ottaiano, Antonella Di Palma, Maria Napolitano, Carmen Pisano, Sandro Pignata, Fabiana Tatangelo, Gerardo Botti, Angela Maria Acquaviva, Giuseppe Castello, Paolo Antonio Ascierto, Rosario Vincenzo Iaffaioli, Stefania Scala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: CXCR4, the chemokine receptor for CXCL12, has recently been involved in the metastatic process of several neoplasms. Materials and methods: The expression of CXCR4 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry of colorectal tissue samples and by flow cytometry on Caco2, GEO, SW480, SW48, Lovo and SW620 human colon carcinoma cell lines. Correlations with pathological characteristics of the specimens were analysed with chi-square test. To verify the functional status of CXCR4, cell lines were tested in adhesion, migration, and proliferation assays. Results: We studied the expression of CXCR4 in 88 human colorectal tissues and we found that CXCR4 was expressed in >10% of epithelial cells in 50% of normal mucosae (7/14), in 55% of polyps (29/53), in all of carcinomas (16/16) and hepatic metastasis (5/5). Notably, CXCR4 was significantly over-expressed in cancerous lesions (carcinomas and metastasis) compared to non-cancerous lesions (normal mucosa and polyps) (P=0.003) and in adenomatous polyps versus hyperplastic polyps (P=0.009). The diameter of a polyp was also significantly associated with CXCR4 expression (P=0.031). SW480, SW48 and SW620 cell lines showed the highest levels of CXCR4 (60-80% of positive cells). Adhesion, migration, and proliferation increased in response to the CXCL12 chemokine. These effects were abrogated by the addition of anti-CXCR4 antibodies. Further, CXCL12 activated ERK1/2 in SW480 cells. Conclusions: These data suggest that CXCR4 might play a role in colon cancer cell properties and that anti-CXCR4 antibodies could have therapeutic effects against colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-791
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Adhesion
  • Chemotaxis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • CXCL12
  • CXCR4
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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