Constitutive production of multiple cytokines and a human chorionic gonadotrophin beta-subunit by a human bladder cancer cell line (KU-19-19): possible demonstration of totipotential differentiation

Br J Cancer. 1997;76(2):163-74. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1997.358.


Bladder cancer cells have been shown to secrete a variety of factors that are not related to cells of urothelial origin. The histogenesis of these tumour developments is uncertain, and a variety of theories have been previously reported. In the present manuscript, we identify the factors constitutively produced by a human bladder cancer cell line (KU-19-19) that was found to produce beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta-hCG), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin 1alpha (IL-1alpha), interleukin 6 (IL-6) and interleukin 8 (IL-8). The cells were obtained from a case of metastatic carcinoma that was originally diagnosed to be a grade 3 (WHO classification), invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. On microscopic observation, the cultured cells exhibited an epithelial appearance with vacuole formation in their cytoplasm. Ultrastructural observations revealed relatively marked microvilli and a tight junction. Significant amounts of beta-hCG, G-CSF, GM-CSF, IL-1alpha, IL-6 and IL-8 concentrations in the supernatant from cultured cells were demonstrated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, while the expression of mRNA of these marker proteins in cancer cells was also significantly exhibited by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In addition, the expression of G-CSF receptor and IL-6 receptor mRNA was also shown by RT-PCR. Xenograft transplantability using nude mice was observed in association with the presence of severe neutrophilia in the peripheral blood. These results indicate that this cell line appears to be an effective model for the study of transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder with multipotent differentiation potentials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / ultrastructure
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human / biosynthesis*
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human / genetics
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / biosynthesis
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / ultrastructure


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin, beta Subunit, Human
  • Cytokines
  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tretinoin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor