Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1997; 21(6):546-552.

Pancreatic Cancer Cell Regulation by Lipids and by Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor Expression

Agnes Estival, PhDa, Suzanne Durand, PhDb, Pascal Clerc RTa, Dominique Louvel M.Da, Nicole Vaysse MD PhDa, Pierre Valdiguie MD PhDb, Francois Clemente MD PhDa

aINSERM U151 and bLaboratoire de Biochimie, CHU Rangueil, Toulouse, France

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Francois Clemente. MD., Ph.D., INSERM U151, CHU Rangueil Bat L 3, Av J. Poulhes, 31054 Toulouse. Cedex, France.

ABSTRACT: High fat intake is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Lipids may act either directly or in cooperation with growth-promoting polypeptides. In this study, the role of serum lipids, and mainly the often expressed intracellular basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) isoforms in cancer cells, was analyzed in pancreatic tumor cell proliferation. Serum lipids alone induced a 1.9-fold increase of human pancreatic cancer cell growth (p < 0.001). Treatment with bFGF had a weak mitogenic effect (1.2- to 1.3-fold increase) compared with those of insulin and transferrin (1.7- to 1.6-fold increase, respectively). The bFGF expression by a rat pancreatic cancer cell line that was transfected with bFGF cDNAs modified cell lipid contents and induced a higher proliferation rate than that found with the exogenous bFGF. Combined extra- and intracellular bFGFs increased cell growth by two to three times (p < 0.001), regardless the presence of extracellular lipids. The results obtained reflect the direct mitogenic effect of serum lipids and suggest that the endogenous bFGF of high molecular weight may be implicated in pancreatic cancer cell growth. By modifying cell lipids, bFGFs may interfere with other cell functions, like signal transduction.

KEY WORDS: bFGF, expression, lipids, mitogens, pancreatic cancer, proliferation.