Dietary (n-6)-polyunsaturated fatty acids influence cancer development, but the mechanisms have not been well characterised in gastric carcinoma.
We used two in vivo models to investigate the effects of these common dietary components on tumour metastasis. In a model of experimental metastasis, immunocompromised mice were fed diets containing linoleic acid (LA) at 2% (LLA), 8% (HLA) or 12% (VHLA) by weight and inoculated intraperitoneally (i.p.) with human gastric carcinoma cells (OCUM-2MD3). To model spontaneous metastasis, OCUM-2MD3 tumours were grafted onto the stomach walls of mice fed with the different diets. In in vitro assays, we investigated invasion and ERK phosphorylation of OCUM-2MD3 cells in the presence or absence of LA. Finally, we tested whether a cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor, indomethacin, could block peritoneal metastasis in vivo.
Both the HLA and VHLA groups showed increased incidence of tumour nodules (LA: 53% HLA: 89% VHLA: 100% P<0.03); the VHLA group also displayed increased numbers of tumour nodules and higher total volume relative to LLA group in experimental metastasis model. Both liver invasion (78%) and metastasis to the peritoneal cavity (67%) were more frequent in VHLA group compared with the LLA group (22% and 11%, respectively; P<0.03) in spontaneous metastasis model. We also found that the invasive ability of these cells is greatly enhanced when exposed to LA in vitro. Linoleic acid also increased invasion of other scirrhous gastric carcinoma cells, OCUM-12, NUGC3 and MKN-45. Linoleic acid effect on OCUM-2MD3 cells seems to be dependent on phosphorylation of ERK. The data suggest that invasion and phosphorylation of ERK were dependent on COX. Indomethacin decreased the number of tumours and total tumour volume in both LLA and VHLA groups. Finally, COX-1, which is known to be an important enzyme in the generation of bioactive metabolites from dietary fatty acids, appears to be responsible for the increased metastatic behaviour of OCUM-2MD3 cells in the mouse model.
Dietary LA stimulates invasion and peritoneal metastasis of gastric carcinoma cells through COX-catalysed metabolism and activation of ERK, steps that compose pathway potentially amenable to therapeutic intervention.