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Lung Cancer. 2006 Jun;52(3):343-7. Epub 2006 Mar 30.

Analysis of c-kit expression in small cell lung cancer: prevalence and prognostic implications.

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Servicio de Oncología Médica, Consorcio Hospital General Universitario de Valencia, Spain.


c-kit, a growth factor receptor with tyrosine kinase activity, plays an important role in the biology of cancer. Its expression has been documented in several malignancies. We performed a retrospective study in 85 patients diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) to determine the prevalence and role of c-kit as a possible prognostic marker in this lung cancer malignancy. Demographic and clinical data were obtained from patient charts. c-kit, analyzed as immunohistochemical expression in paraffin-embedded tumour tissues, was observed in 60% of patients. All patients were former or present smokers. At diagnosis, 46% of the patients had limited disease (LD) and 54% extended disease (ED). c-kit expression was observed in 59% of LD and 61% of ED patients (p=0.4). Patients received a median of 4 cycles first-line combination chemotherapy (platinum and etoposide). In LD patients, time to progression (TTP) was 11.5 months in c-kit (+) versus 5.9 in c-kit (-) patients (p=0.14), and median survival 15.4 and 12.8 months, respectively (p=0.33). In the ED group, TTP was 5.5 months in c-kit (+) versus 3.8 in c-kit (-) patients (p=0.34), whereas median survival was 6.3 and 7.9 months, respectively (p=0.45). With the limited number of patients in mind, our findings tended towards an association between c-kit expression and survival in the LD group.

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