Oncology Reports. 2008 Dec;20(6):1375-80. [Link]

Inami K, Kajino K, Abe M, Hagiwara Y, Maeda M, Suyama M, Watanabe S, Hino O.

Department of Pathology and Oncology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.


ERC/mesothelin gene (MSLN) encodes a precursor protein, which is cleaved by proteases to generate N-ERC/mesothelin and C-ERC/mesothelin. N-ERC/mesothelin is a soluble protein, also known as megakaryocyte-potentiating factor, which is released into extracellular space. N-ERC/mesothelin is known to be a serum marker of mesothelioma. We have previously developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay system for N-ERC/mesothelin, which can detect mesothelioma. C-ERC/mesothelin is expressed in normal mesothelial cell, pancreatic cancers, ovarian cancers, mesotheliomas and some other cancers. Pancreatic ductal carcinoma remains a fatal disease because its diagnosis often occurs very late. In this study, we examined ERC/mesothelin expression in human pancreatic cancer cell lines (MIA-PaCa2, PK-1, KP-3, TCC-PAN2, PK-59 and PK-45H) by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting and N-ERC/mesothelin concentration in the supernatant of cultured cancer cells by the ELISA system.
We also investigated C-ERC/mesothlein expression in human pancreatic ductal carcinoma tissues by immunostaining using 5B2 anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody and N-ERC/mesothelin concentration in sera obtained from patients with pancreatic ductal carcinoma via ELISA. In vitro, N-ERC/mesothelin concentration in cell culture medium nearly correlated with the expression level of C-ERC/mesothelin. Although C-ERC/mesothelin was frequently expressed in human pancreatic ductal carcinoma, serum N-ERC/mesothelin concentration of cancer patients was equivalent to healthy controls. N-ERC/mesothelin was not useful as a serum marker of pancreatic ductal carcinoma, but because of frequent expression, C-ERC/mesothelin might be useful as a target of molecular imaging and immunotherapy.