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Mol Cancer. 2007 Aug 21;6:53.

Molecular portrait of cisplatin induced response in human testis cancer cell lines based on gene expression profiles.

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Department of Chemical Toxicology, Division of Environmental Medicine, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.



Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) respond well to cisplatin-based chemotherapy and show a low incidence of acquired resistance compared to most somatic tumors. The reasons for these specific characteristics are not known in detail but seem to be multifactorial. We have studied gene expression profiles of testicular and colon cancer derived cell lines treated with cisplatin. The main goal of this study was to identify novel gene expression profiles with their functional categories and the biochemical pathways that are associated with TGCT cells' response to cisplatin.


Genes that were differentially expressed between the TGCT cell lines vs the (somatic) HCT116 cell line, after cisplatin treatment, were identified using the significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) method. The response of TGCT cells was strikingly different from that of HCT116, and we identified 1794 genes that were differentially expressed. Functional classification of these genes showed that they participate in a variety of different and widely distributed functional categories and biochemical pathways. Database mining showed significant association of genes (n = 41) induced by cisplatin in our study, and genes previously reported to by expressed in differentiated TGCT cells. We identified 37 p53-responsive genes that were altered after cisplatin exposure. We also identified 40 target genes for two microRNAs, hsa-mir-372 and 373 that may interfere with p53 signaling in TGCTs. The tumor suppressor genes NEO1 and LATS2, and the estrogen receptor gene ESR1, all have binding sites for p53 and hsa-mir-372/373. NEO1 and LATS2 were down-regulated in TGCT cells following cisplatin exposure, while ESR1 was up-regulated in TGCT cells. Cisplatin-induced genes associated with terminal growth arrest through senescence were identified, indicating associations which were not previously described for TGCT cells.


By linking our gene expression data to publicly available databases and literature, we provide a global pattern of cisplatin induced cellular response that is specific for testicular cancer cell lines. We have identified cisplatin-responsive functional classes and pathways, such as the angiogenesis, Wnt, integrin, and cadherin signaling pathways. The identification of differentially expressed genes in this study may contribute to a better understanding of the unusual sensitivity of TGCT to some DNA-damaging agents.

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