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Guarini, L., M. Temponi, G. M. Edwalds, J. R. Vita, P. B. Fisher, and S. Ferrone. 1989. In vitro differentiation and antigenic changes in human melanoma cell lines. Cancer Immunol Immunother 30: 262-8.

Malignant transformation of melanocytes may be associated with changes in the expression of HLA antigens and melanoma-associated antigens (MAA). To determine whether these changes reflect the differential expression of HLA antigens and MAA by melanocytes at different stages of differentiation, we have studied the effect of the reversible induction of differentiation by fibroblast interferon (interferon beta) and/or 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol 13-acetate (TPA) on the expression of HLA antigens and MAA by the melanoma cell lines DU-2, FO-1 and HO-1. The three melanoma cell lines differed in their sensitivity to the differentiating and antiproliferative activity of these two compounds and displayed an increased growth suppression and induction of differentiation, when incubated with the combination of TPA and interferon beta. Incubation of the three melanoma cell lines with interferon beta, TPA or their combination resulted in a differential modulation of the expression of membrane-bound high-molecular-mass melanoma-associated antigen, 115-kDa MAA, 100-kDa MAA, intercellular adhesion molecule 1, HLA class I antigens and gene products of the HLA-D region. Each melanoma cell line displayed a unique pattern of antigenic modulation when exposed to the two differentiating agents alone or in combination. No direct relationship was found between the effects of interferon beta and/or TPA on the growth and differentiation of the three melanoma cell lines and the expression of HLA antigens or the MAA evaluated in the present study. These findings argue against a direct role of any of the antigens tested in the reversible induction of human melanoma cell differentiation in the in vitro system.

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