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 indentified 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.
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