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c-kit, a growth factor receptor with tyrosine kinase activity, plays an important role in the biology of cancer. Its expression has been documented in several malignancies. We performed a retrospective study in 85 patients diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) to determine the prevalence and role of c-kit as a possible prognostic marker in this lung cancer malignancy. Demographic and clinical data were obtained from patient charts. c-kit, analyzed as immunohistochemical expression in paraffin-embedded tumour tissues, was observed in 60% of patients. All patients were former or present smokers. At diagnosis, 46% of the patients had limited disease (LD) and 54% extended disease (ED). c-kit expression was observed in 59% of LD and 61% of ED patients (p=0.4). Patients received a median of 4 cycles first-line combination chemotherapy (platinum and etoposide). In LD patients, time to progression (TTP) was 11.5 months in c-kit (+) versus 5.9 in c-kit (-) patients (p=0.14), and median survival 15.4 and 12.8 months, respectively (p=0.33). In the ED group, TTP was 5.5 months in c-kit (+) versus 3.8 in c-kit (-) patients (p=0.34), whereas median survival was 6.3 and 7.9 months, respectively (p=0.45). With the limited number of patients in mind, our findings tended towards an association between c-kit expression and survival in the LD group.

Original publication




Journal article


Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Publication Date





343 - 347


Servicio de Oncología Médica, Consorcio Hospital General Universitario de Valencia, Spain.


Humans, Carcinoma, Small Cell, Lung Neoplasms, Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols, Prognosis, Prevalence, Survival Rate, Retrospective Studies, Predictive Value of Tests, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Female, Male, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit, Biomarkers, Tumor