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Oncol Res. 1998;10(1):7-14.

Effect of retinoic acid on morphological changes of human pancreatic cancer cells on collagen gels: a possible association with the metastatic potentials.

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Department of Biochemistry, Kyushu University School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan.


Pancreatic carcinoma is an invasive and metastasizing type of malignancy. We established six pancreatic cancer cell lines from human pancreatic carcinomas, three highly metastatic lines (KP-1NL, KP-4, and SUIT-2) and three minimally metastatic lines (KP-2, KP-3, and BxPC-3). The three highly metastatic cell lines grew in a fibroblastoid pattern on collagen gels, whereas the three minimally metastatic cell lines grew in an epithelioid pattern under similar conditions. Western blot and Northern blot analyses indicated much higher levels of E-cadherin in the three minimally metastatic cell lines relative to the three highly metastatic cell lines. When the effect of all-trans-retinoic acid on the growth patterns of the three highly metastatic lines was examined, we observed a dramatic change from fibroblastoid to epithelioid growth in SUIT-2 cells. Although all six cell lines had comparable levels of retinoic acid receptor-gamma, retinoic acid receptor-beta was expressed only in SUIT-2 cells. Treating SUIT-2 cells with retinoic acid also induced the upregulation of E-cadherin expression. When SUIT-2 cells were treated with retinoic acid receptor-specific agonists, 13-cis-retinoic acid and Am555S, a morphological change from fibroblastoid to epithelioid growth was induced. Retinoic acid receptor-specific antagonists, LE135 and LE540, inhibited retinoic acid-induced change of the growth patterns. The effect of retinoic acid and its derivatives on the growth pattern was discussed in a possible association with their antimetastatic activities of pancreatic cancer.

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