Establishment of a human gastrinoma in nude mice

James R. Upp, Judith L. Trudel, Courtney M. Townsend, Robert W. Alexander, Srinivasan Rajaraman, William H. Nealon, George H. Greeley, James C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We report the first establishment and characterization of functioning gastrinoma from a human being transplanted into nude mice. Tissue was obtained at operation from a gastrinoma liver metastasis from a patient with the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. The tumor was implanted subcutaneously in five athymic nude mice. Serum gastrin was measured by means of radioimmunoassay in specimens of mouse blood taken before and 5 minutes after intraperitoneal injection of secretin (100 μg/kg). In a second experiment serum gastrin was measured 30 minutes after injection of somatostatin analogue, SMS 201-995 (300 μg/kg). Studies were also done in 10 control mice. At passage, the fundus of each tumor-bearing mouse was weighed and examined microscopically. The gastrinoma (tumor line, PT) has been maintained for 34 months through four passages with a tumor doubling time of 37 to 45 days. The histology is similar to the original tumor. Immunocytochemistry showed that PT contained gastrin. In two mice metastasis developed 9 months after implantation. Gastrin levels in mice bearing PT have ranged from 216 to 12,000 pg/ml. Gastrin levels of control mice ranged from 0 to 63 pg/ml. Secretin increased gastrin levels in three of five mice tested and decreased gastrin levels in two mice. Repeat secretin tests showed identical results. SMS 201-995 decreased gastrin levels from basal values. Fundic weight of mice bearing PT (397 ± 93 mg) was significantly greater than control fundic weight (180 ± 26 mg). Gastrinomas growing in nude mice produce physiologically active gastrin as shown by elevated serum gastrin levels and by hyperplasia of the stomach. Two distinct subpopulations of gastrinoma cells respond differently to secretin. This model should provide important information on mechanisms of growth control and on gastrin release by gastrinomas in human beings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1045
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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