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Cancer Res. 1987 Mar 1;47(5):1278-81.

Gangliosides of human melanoma: altered expression in vivo and in vitro.


The ganglioside composition of human melanoma was analyzed in five sets of tumor specimens obtained directly from surgery, from the autologous tissue culture cell lines, and from the autologous cell lines grown in athymic nude mice. Total gangliosides of these 15 melanoma specimens were isolated and purified, and the amount of each component ganglioside was analyzed by thin-layer chromatography and a thin-layer chromatography scanner. The ganglioside composition of the five surgical melanoma specimens clearly exhibited different patterns from each other. Moreover, none of the autologous cultured melanomas possessed the same ganglioside composition as their original biopsied tumors. However, when these melanoma cell lines were transplanted into nude mice, the ganglioside composition was converted back to the same ganglioside pattern as in the original surgical specimens. The results support the view that changes in the ganglioside composition of melanoma during in vitro growth are caused by the culture environment rather than by selection of melanoma cells with a particular genotype. Reestablishment of the original ganglioside patterns after passage in nude mice provides clear evidence that in vivo expression of gangliosides is a conserved and stable function specified by the human melanoma cells.

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