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Mod Pathol. 2005 Mar;18(3):320-3.

c-kit Expression in small cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder: prognostic and therapeutic implications.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


The prognosis for small cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder is poor, and strategies for improved therapy are needed. Targeted therapy against the c-kit proto-oncogene has been successful in the management of gastrointestinal stromal tumor. We investigated the expression of c-kit in 52 cases of small cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder. Specimens with more than 10% of cells demonstrating strong membrane staining were considered to have positive immunostaining for c-kit. c-kit expression was detected in 21 of 52 specimens from these patients. Among the 21 specimens, seven had less than 10% staining, and were considered to be negative. Nine had 11-50% staining, and five had more than 50% staining. Overall, 14 of 52 (27%) small cell carcinomas of the urinary bladder were positive for c-kit expression. During a median follow-up of 11 months, 60% of the patients died of bladder cancer. No association was found between c-kit expression and survival or other clinicopathologic parameters. Five-year cancer-specific survivals for c-kit-positive and c-kit-negative tumors were 9 and 15%, respectively (P=0.36). A significant proportion (27%) of small cell carcinomas of the urinary bladder expressed c-kit, suggesting that it may prove useful as a therapeutic target in small cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder.

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