Protease-activated receptor-2 regulates cell proliferation and enhances cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression in human pancreatic cancer cells



Background and Objectives

Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) is a G protein-coupled receptor that is activated by trypsin. Recent studies have suggested that PAR-2 activity correlates with inflammatory processes and cell proliferation and that PAR-2 activation in non-neoplastic cells induces expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). In the present study, we examined whether PAR-2 activation regulates cell proliferation and COX-2 expression by pancreatic cancer cells.


We analyzed PAR-2 expression immunohistochemically in 40 intraductal papillary-mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs) and 73 invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs) of the pancreas. We used four pancreatic cancer cell lines (Panc1, T3M4, BxPC3, and MIApaca2) to measure cell proliferation and COX-2 mRNA expression after PAR-2 activation.


PAR-2 protein was detected immunohistochemically in 85.0% of IPMNs and 65.8% of IDCs. Trypsin and a PAR-2 agonist peptide, SLIGKV, stimulated proliferation of each cell line in a dose-dependent manner. Exposure of cells to anti-PAR-2 neutralizing antibody prior to PAR-2 activation suppressed cell proliferation. In COX-2-positive cell lines (T3M4 and BxPC3), PAR-2 activation significantly increased COX-2 mRNA expression.


Our results suggest that PAR-2 activation is associated with cell proliferation and COX-2 expression in pancreatic cancer cells. Blockade of the PAR-2 signaling pathway may be a novel strategy for suppressing pancreatic tumor growth. J. Surg. Oncol. 2005;89:79–85. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.