Aim: To investigate c-met expression during early pancreatic carcinogenesis. Methods: We used 46 bulk tissues and 36 micro-dissected samples, including normal pancreas, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer, for quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Results: In bulk tissue analyses, pancreatic cancer tissues expressed significantly higher levels of c-met than did chronic pancreatitis and normal pancreas tissues. c-met levels did not differ between chronic pancreatitis and normal pancreas tissues. In microdissection-based analyses, c-met was expressed at higher levels in microdissected pancreatic cancer cells and pancreatitis-affected epithelial cells than in normal ductal epithelial cells (both, P < 0.01). Interestingly, pancreatitis-affected epithelial cells expressed levels of c-met similar to those of pancreatic cancer cells. Conclusion: Overexpression of c-met occurs during the early stage of pancreatic carcinogenesis, and a single alteration of c-met expression is not sufficient for progression of chronic pancreatitis-affected epithelial cells to pancreatic cancer cells.
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