Background: Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is assumed to play a
role in cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions. We evaluated
the relationship between local expression of ICAM-1 and the circulating le
vel of sICAM-1, and clarified its biological implications. Methods: Serum c
oncentrations of sICAM-1 in 94 colorectal cancer patients were determined.
Tissue concentrations of sICAM-1 in the tumor, colorectal adenoma, and the
normal mucosa were also determined. The expression of ICAM-1 in the tumor w
as evaluated immunohistochemically. Results: The serum concentration of sIC
AM-1 in the patients was significantly higher than that in the controls, an
d the tumor size was the independent pathological factor that was associate
d with the serum ICAM-1 level. ICAM-1 immunoreactivity was seen intensively
in the stromal cells in the tumor. The tissue concentration of sICAM-1 in
the normal mucosa was significantly lower than that in the adenoma and the
early carcinoma. The tissue concentration of sICAM-1 in the advanced carcin
oma significantly decreased in association with the increase in tumor size.
This fluctuation of ICAM-1 expression in the tumor was also associated wit
h the metastatic potential even at an early stage of the disease. Conclusio
ns: The tissue concentration of sICAM-1 increased during tumorigenesis and
at an early stage of carcinoma, and decreased in association with progressi
on of the disease. Serum sICAM-1 level reflected the fluctuation of ICAM-1
expression in the tumor. Evaluation of serum concentration of sICAM-1 may b
e associated with tumor load and can reflect disease progression in colorec
tal cancer patients.