c-KIT and c-KIT ligand (SCF) in synovial sarcoma (SS): An mRNA expression analysis in 23 cases

E. Tamborini, D. Papini, A. Mezzelani, C. Riva, A. Azzarelli, G. Sozzi, M. A. Pierotti, S. Pilotti

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In a previous immunophenotypic molecular-based analysis it was shown that bcl2 over-expression characterizes the SS gene profile in addition to the non-random translocations. Here we show that the over-expression of an additional potentially antiapoptotic gene, the c-KIT gene, is associated with this tumour. Interestingly, whereas bcl2 over-expression appears to be restricted to the spindle cell tumoral component, c-kit mainly involves the epithelial component of biphasic SS. Twenty-three primary and metastatic samples from 21 patients were analysed by immunophenotyping (23/23), immunoprecipitations and Western blotting (3/23), and RT-PCR (23/23). Ten cases were biphasic and 13 monophasic in sub-type. Twelve, 10 and 1 case carried the SYT-SSX1, SYT-SSX2 and SYT-SSX4 fusion transcript, respectively. Co-presence of both c-Kit and SCF mRNA was observed in almost all cases (20/23), suggesting the occurrence of an autocrine loop. Immunophenotyping, confirmed by biochemical analyses, showed a modulation of c-Kit expression which was faint in the spindle and strong in the epithelial component, respectively. The study was complemented by c-Met/HGF receptor/ligand expression and c-Met protein analysis with results superimposable to those already reported. Since in each tumour, epithelial and spindle cell components harbour the same type of translocation t(X;18) the present findings suggest a shifting of the anti-apoptotic role from BCL2 to c-KIT gene during the transition from the uncommitted spindle to the differentiated epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 2001


  • Anti-apoptotic gene
  • RT-PCR
  • Synovial sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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