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Leukemia. 1996 Feb;10(2):288-96.

Increased expression of c-Kit or its ligand Steel Factor is not a common feature of adult acute myeloid leukaemia.

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Leukaemia Research Unit, Hanson Centre for Cancer Research, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, Australia.


Cell surface levels of the receptor tyrosine kinase P145(c-kit), the product of the c-kit proto-oncogens, in a panel of 80 primary adult acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) specimens collected at presentation were quantitated by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry, and compared with levels on CD34+ bone marrow cells from normal donors. Receptor levels on AML blast cells were extremely variable and were similar to, or less than, those on normal stem and progenitor cells. In general P145(c-kit) expression was higher on cells of immature phenotype (FAB M1 and M2). c-kit mRNA was quantitated by ribonuclease protection assay (RPA) and was shown to be correlated with cell surface protein expression (r=0.76; P<0.001). This indicates that ligand-mediated receptor internalisation or other mechanisms of increased protein turnover are not responsible for variations in the level of P145(c-kit) in AML specimens. Quantitative Southern blotting was used to examine c-kit gene copy number in 25 of these specimens and was found to be normal in all but one. Thus we have found little evidence of over-expression of c-kit in adult AML. mRNA for the c-kit ligand, Steel Factor (SLF) was also quantitated by RPA in these specimens. While SLF message was detectable (limit of detection approximately 10(4) copies per 10 microgram total RNA; equivalent to 1 copy per 100 cells) in 19% of cases, these specimens in general contained low levels of c-kit mRNA. Thus, an autocrine cycle involving c-kit and SLF does not appear to be a common feature of AML.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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