Abstract Title:

Cyclooxygenase-2-derived prostaglandin E2 activates beta-catenin in human cholangiocarcinoma cells: evidence for inhibition of these signaling pathways by omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Abstract Source:

Cancer Res. 2008 Jan 15;68(2):553-60. PMID: 18199552

Abstract Author(s):

Kyu Lim, Chang Han, Lihong Xu, Kumiko Isse, Anthony J Demetris, Tong Wu

Article Affiliation:

Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Cholangiocarcinoma is a highly malignant neoplasm of the biliary tree. It has a high rate of mortality, and currently, there is no effective chemoprevention and treatment. This study was designed to investigate the potential effect of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3-PUFA) on human cholangiocarcinoma cell growth and to determine their mechanisms of actions. Treatment of three human cholangiocarcinoma cells (CCLP1, HuCCT1, SG231) with two omega 3-PUFAs, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), for 12 to 72 h resulted in a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of cell growth; in contrast, arachidonic acid, a omega 6-PUFA, had no significant effect. The omega 3-PUFA effect is due to the induction of apoptosis, given that DHA induced the cleaved form of PARP, caspase-3, and caspase-9. DHA and EPA treatment caused dephosphorylation (and hence, the activation) of glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) with a decline of beta-catenin protein. Accordingly, DHA treatment also decreased the beta-catenin-mediated T cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor (TCF/LEF) reporter activity, and inhibited the expression of c-Met, a beta-catenin-controlled downstream gene implicated in cholangiocarcinogenesis. The GSK-3beta inhibitor, SB216763, partially prevented DHA-induced reduction of beta-catenin protein and TCF/LEF reporter activity, and restored cell growth, suggesting the involvement of GSK-3beta dephosphorylation in omega 3-PUFA-induced beta-catenin degradation. In parallel, DHA treatment also induced the formation of the beta-catenin/Axin/GSK-3beta binding complex, further leading to beta-catenin degradation. Moreover, DHA inhibited the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and enhanced the expression of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase, a physiologic COX-2 antagonist, in human cholangiocarcinoma cells. These findings suggest that omega 3-PUFAs block cholangiocarcinoma cell growth at least in part through inhibition of Wnt/beta-catenin and COX-2 signaling pathways. Thus, utilization of omega 3-PUFAs may represent an effective and safe therapeutic approach for the chemoprevention and treatment of human cholangiocarcinoma.

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