Immunohistochemical analysis of Bcl-2, Bax, Bcl-X, and Mcl-1 expression in pancreatic cancers

Oncology. 1999;56(1):73-82. doi: 10.1159/000011933.


Expression of several members of the Bcl-2 family proteins was investigated by means of both immunohistochemical analysis in 30 invasive ductal adenocarcinomas and 23 intraductal papillary-mucinous tumors (IPMTs) and immunoblot analysis in 6 cancer tissues and 7 pancreatic cancer cell lines. We found that Bcl-2 was expressed in 23%, Bax in 53%, Bcl-X in 90%, and Mcl-1 in 90% of the invasive ductal adenocarcinomas. In intraductal papillary-mucinous adenocarcinomas, the expression rate of Bax was 44% and those of Bcl-XL and Mcl-1 were 88%; these values were higher than those for intraductal papillary-mucinous adenomas. Immunoblot analysis identified Bcl-XL as the predominant form of the Bcl-X protein in both pancreatic cancer tissues and cell lines, and demonstrated that both Bcl-XL and Mcl-1 protein levels were uniformly high in all cell lines. These results suggest that an imbalance between antiapoptosis proteins (such as Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, and Mcl-1) and proapoptotic proteins (such as Bax and Bcl-Xs) is involved in the distinctive biologic features of adenocarcinomas of the pancreas. Furthermore, predominantly high expressions of Bcl-XL and Mcl-1 in intraductal papillary-mucinous adenocarcinomas might be involved in the carcinogenesis in IPMT of the pancreas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / chemistry
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / chemistry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / analysis*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • bcl-X Protein


  • BAX protein, human
  • BCL2L1 protein, human
  • Myeloid Cell Leukemia Sequence 1 Protein
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • bcl-X Protein