Clinical studies of human bladder cancer cells with mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revealed two surface glycoproteins (T43 and T138) expressed by aggressive cancers and not by normal cells and a differentiation antigen (T16) expressed by normal and tumor cells of urothelial origin (Y. Fradet et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 81: 224–228, 1984; Y. Fradet et al. Cancer Res., 46: 5183–5188, 1986). To investigate further the possible association of these antigenic phenotypes with growth advantage of tumor cells, their expression, according to phases of the cell cycle and growth states (exponential and plateau phase) was studied in the human bladder carcinoma cell line T24. Expression of the p21 ras oncogene product, the Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen and the HLA class I antigen were also studied with mAbs. Multiparameter flow cytometry was used to determine antigen expression and DNA content of cells stained with mAbs and propidium iodide. Two antigens, T16 and T43, showed marked variations of their expression according to the growth status of the cells, although with an inverse profile. T16 was expressed on resting cells up to 12.5 times more than on exponentially growing cells. Conversely, T43 expression increased by a factor of 4.5 on actively proliferating cells. However, there was no preferential expression of either antigen in any one phase of the cell cycle. None of the other antigens studied, including the p21 protein, showed any density variation with either cell cycle or growth states. The results of these studies suggest that T43 may be associated with a growth advantage of tumor cells and that T16 has the characteristics of a differentiation antigen whose expression is induced on resting cells. These findings may have implications for the potential clinical use of these mAbs.


Supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and Cancer Research Society Inc.

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