Cell-substratum interactions mediate oncogene-induced phenotype of lung cancer cells

Linda F. Barr, Susan E. Campbell, Margaret B. Penno, Douglas W. Ball, Steven B. Baylin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In vivo and in vitro studies have linked small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells along a differentiation continuum. The transition of a SCLC toward a NSCLC phenotype is modeled in culture by the simultaneous overexpression of myc and ras genes in cultured SCLC cells. A major phenotypic distinction between SCLC and NSCLC in culture is that SCLC cells usually grow in floating aggregates, whereas NSCLC cells and myc- plus ras-expressing SCLC cells grow as adherent spreading monolayers like other epithelial cells. The present studies examine how myc, ras, cell aggregation, and attachment to laminin may interact to modulate transitions between the SCLC and NSCLC phenotypes. We find that myc-expressing SCLC cells, which normally grow as anchorage-independent cells in plastic flasks, will adhere to laminin and exhibit an epithelial morphology. In this setting, the cells express both NSCLC and SCLC markers, thus resembling a tumor type previously termed NSCLC with neuroendocrine features. Anchorage-dependent SCLC cells simultaneously expressing the myc family and an exogenous ras oncogene move further toward the NSCLC phenotype than the above myc- expressing cells. However, forced suspension of such cells restores the expression of neuroendocrine SCLC features. These studies indicate that cell environment, as much as gene expression events, profoundly affects aspects of the SCLC cell phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1156
Number of pages8
JournalCell Growth and Differentiation
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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