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Gastroenterology. 1993 Dec;105(6):1846-56.

Enhanced expression of transforming growth factor beta isoforms in pancreatic cancer correlates with decreased survival.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.



Transforming growth factor beta s (TGF-beta s) constitute a family of bifunctional polypeptide growth factors that either inhibit or stimulate cell proliferation. Perturbations in TGF-beta expression and function may lead to loss of negative constraints on cell growth. In this study, we examined TGF-beta expression in human pancreatic cancer.


The distribution of TGF-beta isoforms in 60 human pancreatic cancers was examined using immunohistochemical, Northern blot, and in situ hybridization techniques.


Immunohistochemical analysis showed the presence of TGF-beta 1 (47% of tumors), TGF-beta 2 (42% of tumors), and TGF-beta 3 (40% of tumors) in the cancer cells. The presence of TGF-beta 2 was associated with advanced tumor stage (P < 0.05). Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between the absence of TGF-beta s in the tumors and longer postoperative survival. Northern blot analysis indicated that, by comparison with the normal pancreas, pancreatic adenocarcinomas showed 11- (P < 0.001), 7- (P < 0.05), and 9-fold (P < 0.001) increases in the messenger RNA (mRNA) levels encoding TGF-beta 1, TGF-beta 2, and TGF-beta 3, respectively. By in situ hybridization, these mRNA moieties colocalized with their respective proteins in the cancer cells.


These findings show that human pancreatic cancers show increased levels of TGF-beta isoforms and enhanced TGF-beta mRNA expression and suggest that the presence of TGF-beta s in pancreatic cancer cells may contribute to disease progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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