A hallmark of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is the expression of autocrine growth factors such as neurotensin and gastrin-releasing peptide, which bind to cellular receptors and stimulate cell division. The biological activity of autocrine growth factors requires the concurrent expression of prohormone convertases that cleave the growth factors to their active form, suggesting the expression of these genes is linked in SCLCs. RNase protection assays were used to detect the expression of autocrine growth factor and prohormone convertase mRNAs in a panel of lung cancer cell lines. These mRNAs are coexpressed in SCLC and lung carcinoid cell lines, but not in normal lung epithelium or in non-small cell lung cancers. These findings, together with earlier results from our laboratory, suggest the expression of prohormone convertases has an important role in the development and maintenance of the SCLC phenotype and that autocrine growth factor and prohormone convertase genes respond to a common transcriptional activator in SCLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology