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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2011;4(8):775-81. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

C-kit expression in human osteosarcoma and in vitro assays.

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Federal University of São Paulo, Department of Pathology, São Paulo, Brazil.


Biologic agents targeting oncogenes have encourage researchs trying to correlate the role of tyrosine kinase in the pathogenesis of tumours. Osteosarcoma is a high grade aggressive neoplasm with poor survival. Our aim was to investigate c-kit immunoexpression, its prognostic relevance for patients with osteosarcoma, and the effect of imatinib mesylate (STI571) on proliferation and invasion of the human osteosarcoma cell line.A retrospective immunohistochemical study was performed on archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens from 52 patients with high-grade primary osteosarcoma of extremities treated at the Pediatric Oncology Institute (IOP, GRAAC) and archived in the Department of Pathology, Federal University of São Paulo. Only pre-chemotherapy specimens were analyzed. Strongly stained cytoplasm and membrane cells were taken as positive. Human osteosarcoma cells from line MG-63 were incubated and the inhibitory effect of imatinib mesylate (STI571) on cell proliferation and invasion was studied. In 24 cases (46.15%), c-kit was expressed by the cells and c-kit-positive tumors exhibited lower necrosis post-chemotherapy. No correlation was found between c-kit expression and overall and disease-free survival. Imatinib mesylate decreased the rates of cell growth of osteosarcoma cells in low doses and invasion in high doses C-kit-positive tumors had worse response to chemotherapy and imatinib mesylate can play a role in blocking or decreasing the rate of growth of osteosarcoma cells, but not the invasive capacity of these neoplastic cells. These data suggested that imatinib mesylate could be a therapeutic target of strategies against osteosarcoma tumors. Further studies are necessary to confirm this indication.


Osteosarcoma; c-kit; immunohistochemistry; in vitro assays; prognosis

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