Background: Most available pancreas cancer cell lines have been in culture for long periods of time, have not been extensively characterized from the cell biology standpoint, or lack differentiated properties.
Experimental design: We have established four new cell lines from ductal pancreatic cancers (IMIM-PC-1, IMIM-PC-2, SK-PC-1, and SK-PC-3). The phenotype and functional properties of the cell lines were analyzed using ultrastructural methods, antibodies detecting cytokeratin polypeptides and mucin epitopes, and cDNA probes of epithelial differentiation markers.
Results: IMIM-PC-2 and SK-PC-1 cells grow as a polarized monolayer, form domes, and express all CK polypeptides typical of simple epithelia and the MUC1 mucin. IMIM-PC-1 and SK-PC-3 are morphologically less differentiated and express low or undetectable levels of CK7 and MUC1. By Northern blotting, we found that SK-PC-1 and SK-PC-3 cells express carbonic anhydrase II and that the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator was undetectable in the four lines. Secretin induces a marked stimulation of cAMP levels in all cell lines except for SK-PC-3. Cytogenetic analysis demonstrates their human origin.
Conclusions: Levels of CK7 and MUC1 are associated with less differentiated cultures. The new cell lines should be useful tools to study the cell biology of exocrine pancreas cancer.