Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) is an adhesion molecule assigned to the activated endothelium mediating immune cells adhesion and extravasation. However, its expression in renal carcinomas inversely correlates with tumor malignancy. Our experiments in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) cell lines demonstrated that von Hippel Lindau (VHL) loss, hypoxia, or PHD (for prolyl hydroxylase domain–containing proteins) inactivation decreased VCAM-1 levels through a transcriptional mechanism that was independent of the hypoxia-inducible factor and dependent on the nuclear factor κB signaling pathway. Conversely, VHL expression leads to high VCAM-1 levels in ccRCC, which in turn leads to better outcomes, possibly by favoring antitumor immunity through VCAM-1 interaction with the α4β1 integrin expressed in immune cells. Remarkably, in ccRCC human samples with VHL nonmissense mutations, we observed a negative correlation between VCAM-1 levels and ccRCC stage, microvascular invasion, and symptom presentation, pointing out the clinical value of VCAM-1 levels as a marker of ccRCC progression.
- Submitted: 5 August 2016
- Revision received 21 December 2016
- Accepted: 30 January 2017
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