We have examined a wide range of cultured human tumor cell lines and found that a specific subset of tumors expresses the cholecystokinin (CCK) gene. All neuroepitheliomas (eight) and Ewing sarcoma (eight) cell lines that were tested express CCK RNA. In addition, two of six rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines also express the CCK gene, suggesting that rhabdomyosarcomas are probably heterogenous and that a subset may be similar to Ewing sarcoma and neuroepithelioma. Very few of the positive tumors express completely processed immunoreactive CCK. However, we have used a radioimmunoassay that detects the CCK precursor to demonstrate synthesis of CCK precursor-like peptides by all of the Ewing sarcoma and neuroepithelioma lines that were tested and by the rhabdomyosarcoma cell line that expresses CCK mRNA. These data demonstrate a consistent association of CCK gene expression with a specific group of human neoplasms. The data also add credence to the theory that Ewing sarcoma and neuroepithelioma are derived from the same transformed cell type. Finally, our results suggest that CCK gene expression may serve as a marker to distinguish these tumors, which are considered to be small-round- cell tumors of childhood, from other pediatric tumors.
Friedman, J. M., Vitale, M., Maimon, J., Israel, M. A., Horowitz, M. E., & Schneider, B. S. (1992). Expression of the cholecystokinin gene in pediatric tumors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 89(13), 5819–5823. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.89.13.5819