Molecular markers of cancer in cartilaginous fish: immunocytochemical study of PCNA, p-53, myc and ras expression in neoplastic and hyperplastic tissues from free ranging blue sharks, Prionace glauca (L.)


J D Borucinska, Department of Biology, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117-1559, USA


Archival formalin-fixed tissues from wild-caught adult blue sharks, Prionace glauca (L.), were used for immunocytochemical detection of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), two oncoproteins from the oncogenes c-myc and pan-ras, and a protein product from the tumour suppressor gene p-53. All sharks were caught during summer months between 2000 and 2006 by recreational fishermen off the USA coast in the northwestern Atlantic. The sharks were necropsied on landing and selected organ samples were collected into elasmobranch formalin and processed for paraffin embedding and light microscopy. Paraffin-embedded sections from collected tissue were both stained with haematoxylin and eosin and processed by immunocytochemical techniques using antibodies raised against the PCNA, p-ras, c-myc and p-53 proteins. The lesions examined in this study included two well differentiated adenomatous gastric polyps, a testicular capsular mesothelioma, a gingival fibropapilloma with elements of ameloblastoma, three liver tumours, two pericardial fibropapillomas and six cases of proliferative serositis (pericarditis and peritonitis). Normal and hyperplastic tissues from blue sharks, and human neoplastic tissues served as negative and positive controls, respectively. We detected upregulation of PCNA in many neoplastic, one dysplastic and in some hyperplastic lesions, and positive p-ras and c-myc signals in some of the neoplastic lesions. None of the examined tissues showed positive p-53 signalling. This is the first literature report on immunocytochemical detection of molecular markers of cancer in sharks and in fish of the class Chondrichthyes.