Modulation of malignancy/metastasis of germ cell tumors : differentiation by nerve growth factor


Carcinogenesis occurs due to damage to DNA. Consequently, abnormal proteins are synthesized some of which fail to adequately regulate the rate of cell proliferation. In order to control or repair such damage, the malignant cell's DNA must be influenced. Growth factors represent a class of molecules capable of changing a cell's phenotype through the influence of nuclear DNA. This study used Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in an attempt to change a malignant phenotype. Various clones of the CB· I tumor cell were treated with NGF. The influence of NGF on the cell's phenotype was seen based upon comparisons between the appearance, growth characteristics, and flow cytometric analysis between the CB· I and the NGF subclones. The appearance was evaluated based on both morphology and cell adhesion. Growth rate studies were conducted in vitro between the cell lines. An in vivo tumor model was developed to study and compare both the in vivo growth rate and the potential for tumor formation between the two cell lines. Finally, flow cytometry was used to elucidate differences in cell surface markers. NGF proved to have a dramatic effect on the CB· l's appearance, growth characteristics, and cell surface markers. The NGF subclones developed neural cytoplasmic extensions which sharply contrasted with the CB· I's morphology. Additionally, the NGF subclones were more adherent in culture than the CB· 1. The in vitro growth rate of the subclones greatly diminished. In vivo, NGF proved to significantly decrease the malignant potential of the CB· 1. Flow cytometry confirmed the phenotypic difference in cell surface markers. The reduction in the rate of proliferation and malignant potential of the CB-1 through the use of NGF is important. It is possible that one day such treatments may be used in a clinical setting.


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Thesis Completion





Vickers, David H.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program



Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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