Gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer remains a clinically significant disease in Western countries due to its increasing incidence, which mirrors that of esophageal cancer, and poor prognosis. To develop novel and effective approaches for prevention, early detection, and treatment of patients with GEJ cancer, a better understanding of the mechanisms driving pathogenesis and malignant progression of this disease is required. These efforts have been limited by the small number of available cell lines and appropriate preclinical animal models for in vitro and in vivo studies. We have established and characterized a novel GEJ cancer cell line, GEAMP, derived from the malignant pleural effusion of a previously treated GEJ cancer patient. Comprehensive genetic analyses confirmed a clonal relationship between GEAMP cells and the primary tumor. Targeted next-generation sequencing identified 56 nonsynonymous alterations in 51 genes including TP53 and APC, which are commonly altered in GEJ cancer. In addition, multiple copy-number alterations were found including EGFR and K-RAS gene amplifications and loss of CDKN2A and CDKN2B. Histological examination of subcutaneous flank xenografts in nude and NOD-SCID mice showed a carcinoma with mixed squamous and glandular differentiation, suggesting GEAMP cells contain a subpopulation with multipotent potential. Finally, pharmacologic inhibition of the EGFR signaling pathway led to downregulation of key downstream kinases and inhibition of cell proliferation in vitro. Thus, GEAMP represents a valuable addition to the limited number of bona fide GEJ cancer cell lines.
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We thank Beth Cook for assistance in performing Alcian blue staining. We also thank Dr. Rodney Miller and his colleagues at ProPath for performing ERBB2 and EGFR immunohistochemistry and FISH and interpreting the results.
Conflict of interest
No relevant conflicts of interest exist. JYP serves as a scientific advisory board member of Miraca Holdings; subsidiaries include Baylor Genetics and Fujirebio, Inc.
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