Metabolism of arachidonic acid in human lung cancer cell lines

Serrine Lau, J. B. McMahon, M. G. McMenamin, H. M. Schuller, M. R. Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


The metabolism of arachidonic acid (AA) was studied in two pulmonary bronchioloalveolar-carcinoma cell lines (NCI-H322 and NCI-H358) and two small cell lung carcinoma cell lines (NCI-H69 and NCI-H128). Exogenous AA was metabolized only in the NCI-H322 and NCI-H358 cells. There was no detectable metabolism of AA in NCI-H69 or NCI-H128 cells, either in the presence or the absence of the calcium ionophore A23187. The major metabolite of AA isolated from both NCI-H322 and NCI-H358 cells was prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase activities, expressed as immunoreactive PGE2 (pmol/min/mg protein), were 103 ± 0.28 (SD) and 4.8 ± 0.48 in NCI-H358 and NCI-H322 cells, respectively. The rate of production of PGE2 by both NCI-H358 and NCI-H322 cells was linear up to 10 min. Production of PGE2 in both cell lines was dependent upon substrate concentration and was maximal above 17 μM AA. Moreover, PGE2 did not undergo further metabolism by either the NCI-H358 or the NCI-H322 cells. Aspirin (0.1 mM), a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, decreased PGE2 production by 77 and 60% in NCI-H358 and NCI-H322 cells, respectively. In the presence of exogenous AA the calcium ionophore, A23187 (20 μM), stimulated PGE2 production in NCI-H322 cells by almost 2-fold, although it did not affect PGE2 production in the NCI-H358 cells. In contrast, A23187 stimulated the endogenous production of PGE2 in both NCI-H322 and NCI-H358 cells by 4- and 9-fold respectively. In addition, both the NCI-H358 and NCI-H322 cell lines were susceptible to the cytotoxic effects of the anticancer agent mitoxantrone in both a time and concentration dependent manner. In contrast, the two cell lines lacking detectable prostaglandin synthesis activity, NCI-H69 and NCI-H128 were unaffected by treatment with mitoxantrone. These results illustrate that there are major differences in the abilities of human lung cancer cell lines to biosynthesize and release PGE2. It is conceivable that such differences might have exploitable diagnostic and/or therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3757-3762
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cite this

Lau, S., McMahon, J. B., McMenamin, M. G., Schuller, H. M., & Boyd, M. R. (1987). Metabolism of arachidonic acid in human lung cancer cell lines. Cancer Research, 47(14), 3757-3762.