The neu protooncogene is a recently described transforming gene originally isolated from ethylnitrosourea-induced rat neuroblastomas. We have examined the expression of the neu gene in human non-small cell lung carcinomas using immunoprecipitation and immunohistochemistry. The neu protein product (p185neu) was present in eight of 22 non-small cell carcinoma cell lines derived from human lung tumors. Expression of p185neu was found in all histological subtypes of non-small cell carcinomas including large cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and adenocarcinomas. Extension of these data to biopsy specimens of human lung tumors demonstrated that normal ciliated bronchial epithelium of the peripheral airways expressed p185neu at low levels. Neoplastic cells in four of 12 adenocarcinomas and three of five squamous cell carcinomas also expressed p185neu at levels higher than the normal ciliated bronchial epithelium. Together these studies indicate that p185neu expression is a common feature of human lung tumors.


This work was supported by NIH Grant HL01575. Dr. Weiner is supported by the Council for Tobacco Research.

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