Small cell carcinoma cell lines contain opioid peptides and receptors
Carcinoma, Small Cell
Two human small cell carcinoma cell lines were assayed for total opioid and beta-endorphin-like immunoreactivity. Small cell carcinoma cell line NCI-H146 contained approximately 1.1 pmol/mg protein of total opioid immunoreactivity. This material was similar in size and immunoreactive determinants to C-terminally modified beta-endorphin. Small cell carcinoma cell line NCI-H187 contained approximately 0.2 pmol/mg protein total opioid immunoreactivity, which was of low molecular weight. NCI-H187 also contained approximately 1.2 pmol/mg protein of material similar in size and immunoreactive determinants to beta-lipotropin. The two small cell carcinoma cell lines were also examined for opioid receptors with the use of [3H]-etorphine as ligand. Both cell lines contained between 50 and 100 fmol/mg protein of specific, saturable, high-affinity opioid receptor binding sites. Together, these findings suggest a possible autocrine role for opioids in small cell carcinoma of the lung.