44 small cell lung cancer cell lines established from 227 patients were studied for myc family DNA amplification (c-myc, N-myc, and L-myc). Two of 19 lines (11%) established from untreated patients' tumors had DNA amplification (one N-myc and one L-myc), compared with 11 of 25 (5 c-myc, 3 N-myc, and 3 L-myc) cell lines (44%) established from relapsed patients' tumors (P = 0.04). The 19 patients who had tumor cell lines established before chemotherapy treatment survived a median of 14 wk compared with 48 wk for the 123 extensive stage patients who did not have cell lines established (P < 0.001). Relapsed patients whose cell lines had c-myc DNA amplification survived a shorter period (median of 33 wk) than patients whose cell lines did not have c-myc amplification (median of 53 wk; P = 0.04). We conclude that (a) myc family DNA amplification is more common in tumor cell lines established from treated than untreated patients' tumors, and (b) c-myc amplification in treated patients' tumor cell lines is associated with shortened survival.
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