Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2008 Dec 9;49(12):5215-21. Epub 2008 Jul 9.
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.
Purpose: Chemotherapy resistance is a problem in the treatment of advanced retinoblastoma (RB). Since basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a survival factor for neural precursor cells, bFGF was evaluated as a growth and chemoresistance factor in RB.
Methods: bFGF expression was analyzed in the LH-betaTag transgenic mouse model of RB and human RB cell lines by immunofluorescence, RT-PCR, and Western blot. Proliferation and apoptosis (TUNEL) assays were performed.
Results: bFGF levels significantly increased during tumorigenesis in transgenic RB, as a function of tumor status (P = 0.005). PCR and confocal microscopy confirmed that the human cell lines and primary tumors expressed bFGF. bFGF was localized to vascular and tumor cells and rarely to glial cells. Exogenous 18-kDa bFGF induced proliferation in two RB cell lines (WERI and Y79). Western blot analysis demonstrated 34-, 22-, and 18-kDa isoforms in transgenic RB and both cell lines. In TUNEL assays, chemoresistance to carboplatin-induced apoptosis was observed in the Y79 line, which expressed a higher ratio of high (34 kDa)- to low-molecular-weight bFGF isoforms, compared with the WERI line. Similar to other bFGF tumor studies, exogenous low-molecular-weight (18 kDa) bFGF (1 ng) significantly enhanced carboplatin-induced apoptosis in the more chemosensitive WERI, but not the chemoresistant Y79 line.
Conclusions: RB tumors produce significant amounts of bFGF, and the differential production and response to isoforms of bFGF may have implications for invasive tumor growth and chemoresistance.