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Br J Cancer. 1996 May; 73(10): 1193–1200.
PMCID: PMC2074502

Expression of apoptosis-regulatory genes in lung tumour cell lines: relationship to p53 expression and relevance to acquired drug resistance.


As a first step towards elucidating the potential role(s) of bcl-2 and bcl-2-related genes in lung tumorigenesis and therapeutic responsiveness, the expression of these genes has been examined in a panel of lung cancer cell lines derived from untreated and treated patients, and in cell lines selected in vitro for multidrug resistance. Bcl-2 was hyperexpressed in 15 of 16 small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines and two of five non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lines compared with normal lung and brain, and hyperexpression was not chemotherapy related. Bcl-x was hyperexpressed in the majority of SCLC and NSCLC cell lines as compared with normal tissues, and all lung tumour lines preferentially expressed bcl-x1-mRNA, the splice variant form that inhibits apoptosis. Bax gene transcripts were hyperexpressed in most SCLC and NSCLC cell lines examined compared with normal adult tissues. Mutant p53 gene expression was detected in the majority of the cell lines and no relationship between p53 gene expression and the expression of either bcl-2, bcl-x or bax was observed. No changes in bcl-2, bcl-x and bax gene expression were observed in multidrug-resistant cell lines compared with their drug-sensitive counterparts.

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