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Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Investigation


Geisel School of Medicine


Human small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and cell lines derived therefrom are phenotypically heterogeneous concerning neuroendocrine differentiation. Unlike most SCLC tumors and cell lines that express poorly differentiated neuroendocrine phenotypes, the SCLC cell line DMS 53 exhibits mature endocrine differentiation features, including unusually high expression of the gene for the peptide hormone, calcitonin (CT). We now report that introduction of the viral Harvey ras (v-rasH) oncogene into DMS 53 cells via retroviral infection, with resultant constitutive expression, results in increased features of neuroendocrine differentiation. 7-10 d after infection the cells demonstrated altered morphology, increased CT secretion, increased CT gene expression, markedly diminished cellular proliferation, and nearly abolished methylcellulose cloning efficiency. This response of DMS 53 cells to v-rasH is unlike the tumor progression effects we have previously observed in other SCLC lines. Significantly, the differentiation response that follows expression of the virally introduced v-rasH oncogene in DMS 53 cells is similar to that of neoplastic neuroendocrine cell lines derived from adrenal pheochromocytes and thyroid C cells. The effects of constitutive v-rasH expression in DMS 53 SCLC cells and other neuroendocrine cell lines suggest an important role for rasH or related genes in neuroendocrine differentiation.



Original Citation

Mabry M, Nakagawa T, Baylin S, Pettengill O, Sorenson G, Nelkin B. Insertion of the v-Ha-ras oncogene induces differentiation of calcitonin-producing human small cell lung cancer. J Clin Invest. 1989;84(1):194-199. doi:10.1172/JCI114140