Purpose: Mucins are important biomolecules that frequently display an altered expression under pathological conditions. In a search for a unique and reliable marker(s) specific for pancreatic adenocarcinoma, we investigated the expression of different MUC genes in pancreatic tumors and tumor cell lines, in chronic pancreatitis, and in the normal pancreas. Experimental Design: Total RNA from 16 pancreatic tumors, 10 chronic pancreatitis tissues, 7 normal pancreas tissues, and 15 pancreatic tumor cell lines were analyzed by reverse transcription-PCR with primers specific for MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, MUC5B, MUC6, and MUC7 genes and by RNA slot blot analyses. Results: Our results revealed that of all of the mucins examined, only MUC4 displayed a differential expression that was specific for pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Indeed, a substantial number of tumor tissue samples (12 of 16) and tumor cell lines (11 of 15) expressed MUC4 mRNA, whereas samples from chronic pancreatitis (0 of 10) and the normal pancreas (0 of 7) tissues failed to exhibit any detectable level of this mucin. In contrast, no significant alteration was observed in the expression of the other mucins relative to that in the normal pancreas samples. Conclusions: Overall, this work demonstrates that pancreatic mucin MUC4 is a tumor-associated mucin. Furthermore, the present study introduces a novel avenue to discriminate between pancreatic adenocarcinoma and pancreatitis. Future investigations of the role played by MUC4 in pancreatic adenocarcinoma may prove to be useful in the formulation of strategies for the diagnosis and therapeutic treatment of this malignancy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Clinical Cancer Research|
|State||Published - 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research