• human embryonic lethal abnormal vision-like protein;
  • cyclooxygenase-2;
  • mesothelioma;
  • prognosis;
  • immunohistochemistry



The human embryonic lethal abnormal vision (ELAV)-like protein HuR is a messenger RNA (mRNA)-binding protein that controls the stability of certain transcripts, including cyclooxygenase2 (COX-2).


To investigate a possible contribution of dysregulation of mRNA stability to the progression of cancer and to COX-2 over expression in mesothelioma, the authors studied expression of COX-2 and HuR in 5 mesothelioma cell lines (MSTO, NCI, Ist-Mes1, Ist-Mes2, and MPP89) and in a group of 29 human mesothelioma specimens that were characterized previously for COX-2 expression.


All 5 cell lines expressed HuR, whereas COX-2 was not detectable in MSTO or NCI cells. Treatment with cytokines induced a shift in systolic HuR protein levels in MPP89 and Ist-Mes2 cells that was accompanied by an increase in the expression of COX-2 mRNA and protein. In Ist-Mes1 cells, cytokine stimulation did not cause the passage of HuR from nucleus to cytoplasm, and the synthesis of COX-2 did not increase. In tumor tissues, immunohistochemistry revealed a positive, statistically significant correlation between high COX-2 expression and cytoplasmic localization of HuR (P = .016). Moreover, on univariate analysis, overall survival was found to be influenced strongly by cytoplasmic HuR localization (P = .004).


The current results suggested that HuR plays a role in tumor progression in mesothelioma and that COX-2 may be a target of its activity in neoplastic cells. Together, these observations indicate that strategies aiming toward the modulation of HuR may have a potential clinical benefit in mesothelioma. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.