Nerve growth factor abrogates the tumorigenicity of human small cell lung cancer cell lines

Cristina Missale, Agnese Codignola, Sandra Sigala, Alessandra Finardi, Marcelo Paez-Pereda, Emanuele Sher, Pierfranco Spano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nerve growth factor (NGF) has antiproliferative and differentiating effects on adenomas of neuroendocrine origin. Cell lines derived from small- cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), a very aggressive neuroendocrine tumor, express NGF receptors. The role of NGF in the control of proliferation and progression of this carcinoma, however, has never been investigated. Chronic exposure of NCI-N-592 and GLC8 SCLC cell lines to NGF remarkably inhibited their proliferation rate both in vitro and in vivo, prevented their anchorage-independent clonal growth in soft agar, impaired their invasive capacity in vitro, and abolished their tumorigenic potential in nude mice. The proliferative response of SCLC cell lines to nicotine was also remarkably impaired by in vitro NGF treatment. Furthermore, NGF treatment activates in SCLC cell lines the expression and secretion of NGF. NGF thus reverts SCLC cell lines to a noninvasive, nontumorigenic phenotype that does not respond to nicotine and produces NGF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5366-5371
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 28 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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