Estrogens produced as a result of intratumoral aromatization has been recently shown to play important roles in proliferation of human non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC), but the details have remained largely unknown. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the possible roles of intratumoral aromatase in NSCLCs as follows: (a) evaluation of intratumoral localization of aromatase mRNA/protein in six lung adenocarcinoma cases using laser capture microdissection combined with quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR and immunohistochemistry; (b) examination of the possible effects of isolated stromal cells from lung carcinoma tissues on aromatase mRNA transcript expression in lung carcinoma cell lines (A549 and LK87) through a coculture system; and (c) screening of cytokines derived from stromal LK001S and LK002S cells using cytokine antibody arrays and subsequent evaluation of effects of these cytokines on aromatase expression in A549 and LK87. Both aromatase mRNA and protein were mainly detected in intratumoral carcinoma cells but not in stromal cells. Aromatase expression of A549 and LK87 was upregulated in the presence of LK001S or LK002S cells. Several cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), oncostatin M, and tumor necrosis factor-α, all known as inducible factors of aromatase gene, were detected in conditioned media of LK001S and LK002S cells. Treatment of both oncostatin M and IL-6 induced aromatase gene expression in A549 an LK87, respectively. These results all indicated that intratumoral microenvironments, especially carcinoma-stromal cell interactions, play a pivotal role in the regulation of intratumoral estrogen synthesis through aromatase expression in human lung adenocarcinomas.
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