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Br J Cancer. 2008 Nov 18;99(10):1635-43. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604725. Epub 2008 Oct 28.

A genome-wide expression analysis identifies a network of EpCAM-induced cell cycle regulators.

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Molecular Medicine and Medical Biotechnology, Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, Hannover, Germany.


Expression of the epithelial cell adhesion molecule EpCAM is upregulated in a variety of carcinomas. This antigen is therefore explored in tumour diagnosis, and clinical trials have been initiated to examine EpCAM-based therapies. Notably, the possible intracellular effects and signalling pathways triggered by EpCAM-specific antibodies are unknown. Here, we show treatment of the mouse lung carcinoma cell line A2C12, of the human lung carcinoma cell line A549 and the human colorectal cell line Caco-2 with the monoclonal EpCAM antibody G8.8 to cause dose dependently an increase in cell proliferation, as determined by the MTS and the 5'-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) labelling assay. Furthermore, a genome-wide approach identified networks of regulated genes, most notably cell cycle regulators, upon treatment with an EpCAM-specific antibody. Indeed, changes in the expression of cell cycle regulators agreed well with the BrdU labelling data, and an analysis of differentially expressed genes revealed the processes with the strongest over-representation of modulated genes, for example, cell cycle, cell death, cellular growth and proliferation, and cancer. These data suggest that EpCAM is involved in signal transduction triggering several intracellular signalling pathways. Knowing EpCAM signalling pathways might lead to a reassessment of EpCAM-based therapies.

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