We investigated the expression of interleukin 1β-converting enzyme (ICE; caspase-1) in human adenocarcinomas of the pancreas. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot analyses revealed an overexpression of ICE in 71 and 80% of tumor cells, respectively. Also, on a mRNA level, ICE mRNA was overexpressed in 45% of the cases, as compared to normal pancreatic tissue. Interestingly, the overexpression of ICE in tumor cells correlated significantly with the overexpression of cyclin D1, epidermal growth factor, and epidermal growth factor receptor (P < 0.0005, P < 0.05, and P < 0.002, respectively), which are involved in cell cycle progression and proliferation in human pancreatic carcinoma. This is the first report concerning ICE expression in human carcinomas; however, the exact mechanism underlying these close correlations warrant further research.


This work was supported by Deutsche Krebshilfe Grant 10-1276-Gal (to S. G. and F. G.).

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