Background: Adenocarcinoma of the proximal stomach is now the most rapidly rising cancer among men in the United States. The development of metastases is the major cause of morbidity and mortality for this aggressive disease. The mechanisms by which tumor cells invade the basement membrane are unknown for this disease. We have identified and established 5 invasive and noninvasive adenocarcinoma cell lines arising from the proximal stomach, which can be used to examine the mechanisms involved in tumor cell invasion.
Methods: The expression of factors associated with tumor cell attachment, proteolysis, and inhibition of proteolysis was determined by reverse transcription of mRNA to cDNA and subsequent amplification by the polymerase chain reaction. In addition, cells were examined for morphologic changes by scanning electron microscopy.
Results: Invasive proximal gastric cancer cells express the 72-kD form of collagenase type IV, whereas the noninvasive cells do not. Other factors examined (including the laminin receptor, cathepsin B, cathepsin L, urokinase-type plasminogen activator, and tissue inhibitor metalloproteinases) are expressed by both invasive and noninvasive gastric cancer cells, whereas collagenase type IV 92-kD form is not expressed by any of the cells examined. In addition, scanning electron microscopy revealed that all the invasive cell lines exhibit long cytoplasmic extensions. The noninvasive cells express short cytoplasmic projections and are rounder than the invasive proximal gastric cancer cell lines.
Conclusions: There are distinct phenotypic differences between invasive and noninvasive proximal gastric cancer cell lines both at the level of expression of mRNA for collagenase Type IV 72-kD and at the level of scanning electron microscopy with the expression of cytoplasmic projections. Clinical outcome may be associated with these phenotypic differences.