Oncology Central

Cholecystokinin expression in tumors: biogenetic and diagnostic implications

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Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a classic gut hormone. CCK is also a complex system of peptides expressed in several molecular forms in enteroendocrine I cells, in cerebral and peripheral neurons, in cardiac myocytes and spermatozoa. CCK gene expression has now been found at protein or peptide level in different neuroendocrine tumors; cerebral gliomas and astrocytomas and specific pediatric tumors. Tumor hypersecretion of CCK was recently reported in a patient with a metastatic islet cell tumor and hypercholecystokininemia resulting in a novel tumor syndrome, the cholecystokininoma syndrome. This review presents an overview of the cell-specific biogenesis of CCK peptides, and a description of the CCK expression in tumors and of the cholecystokininoma syndrome. Finally, assays for the diagnosis of CCK-producing tumors are reviewed.

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