Discovery of novel tumor markers of pancreatic cancer using global gene expression technology

Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue, Anirban Maitra, Grace L. Shen-Ong, Tjarda Van Heek, Raheela Ashfaq, Renee Meyer, Kimberly Walter, Karin Berg, Michael A. Hollingsworth, John L. Cameron, Charles J. Yeo, Scott E. Kern, Michael Goggins, Ralph H. Hruban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

279 Scopus citations


Despite several advances in our basic understanding and in the clinical management of pancreatic cancer, virtually all patients who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will die from this disease. The high mortality of pancreatic cancer is predominantly because of diagnosis at an advanced stage of disease and a lack of effective treatments. We used the Gene Logic Inc. BioExpress platform and Affymetrix GeneChip arrays to identify genes differentially expressed in pancreatic cancer. cDNA was prepared from samples of normal pancreas (n = 11), normal gastrointestinal mucosa (n = 22), resected pancreas cancer tissues (n = 14), and pancreas cancer cell lines (n = 8), and was hybridized to the complete Affymetrix Human Genome U95 GeneChip set (arrays U95 A, B, C, D, and E) for simultaneous analysis of 60,000 cDNA fragments, with 12,000 fragments covering full-length genes and 48,000 fragments covering expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Genes expressed at levels at least fivefold greater in the pancreatic cancers as compared to normal tissues were identified. Serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) libraries ( of two normal pancreatic ductal cell cultures (HX and H126) were used to exclude genes expressed in the normal ducts (more than five tags per library). Differential expression of selected candidate genes was validated by immunohistochemical analysis (n = 3), by in situ hybridization (n = 1), and by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (n = 8). One hundred eighty fragments were identified as having fivefold or greater expression levels in pancreas cancer specimens as compared to normal tissue, of which 124 corresponded to known genes and 56 to ESTs. Of these 124 fragments, 10 genes were represented by two or more fragments, resulting in 107 known genes identified as differentially expressed in pancreatic cancer. An additional 10 genes were expressed in the SAGE libraries of normal pancreatic duct epithelium, and were excluded from further analysis. A literature search indicated that 28 of the remaining 97 genes have been reported in association with pancreatic cancer, validating this approach. The remaining 69 genes have not been implicated in pancreatic cancer before, and have immediate potential as novel therapeutic targets and tumor markers of pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1249
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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