Published online Mar 14, 2006. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i10.1583
Revised: October 1, 2005
Accepted: November 18, 2005
Published online: March 14, 2006
AIM: To investigate the c-kit expression in biliary tract cancer cell lines and histological sections from patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CC) and to evaluate the efficacy of in vitro and in vitro treatment with imatinib mesilate.
METHODS: The protein expression of c-kit in the human biliary tract cancer cell lines Mz-ChA-2 and EGI-1 and histological sections from 19 patients with extrahepatic CC was assessed by immunoblotting, immunocytochemistry, and immunohistochemistry. The anti-proliferative effect of imatinib mesilate on biliary tract cancer cell lines Mz-ChA-2 and EGI-1 was studied in vitro by automated cell counting. In addition, immunodeficient NMRI mice (TaconicTM) were subcutaneously injected with 5 x 106 cells of cell lines MzChA-2 and EGI-1. After having reached a tumour volume of 200 mm3, daily treatment was started intraperitoneally with imatinib mesilate at a dose of 50 mg/kg or normal saline (NS). Tumor volume was calculated with a Vernier caliper. After 14 d, mice were sacrificed with tumors excised and tumor mass determined.
RESULTS: Immunoblotting revealed presence of c-kit in Mz-ChA-2 and absence in EGI-1 cells. Immunocytochemistry with c-kit antibodies displayed a cytoplasmatic and membraneous localization of receptor protein in Mz-ChA-2 cells and absence of c-kit in EGI-1 cells. c-kit was expressed in 7 of 19 (37%) extrahepatic human CC tissue samples, 2 showed a moderate and 5 a rather weak immunostaining. Imatinib mesilate at a low concentration of 5 µmol/L caused a significant growth inhibition in the c-kit positive cell line Mz-ChA-2 (31%), but not in the c-kit negative cell line EGI-1 (0%) (P < 0.05). Imatinib mesilate at an intermediate concentration of 10 µmol/L inhibited cellular growth of both cell lines (51% vs 57%). Imatinib mesilate at a higher concentration of 20 µmol/L seemed to have a general toxic effect on both cell lines. The IC50 values were 9.7 µmol/L and 11 µmol/L, respectively. After 14 d of in vitro treatment with imatinib mesilate, using the chimeric mouse model, c-kit positive Mz-ChA-2 tumors had a significantly reduced volume and mass as compared to NS treatment (P < 0.05). In contrast to that, treatment of mice bearing c-kit negative EGI-1 tumors did not result in any change of tumor volume and mass as compared to NS treatment.
CONCLUSION: c-kit expression is detectable at a moderate to low protein level in biliary tract cancer. Imatinib mesilate exerts marked effects on tumor growth in vitro and in vitro dependent on the level of c-kit expression.