Assessment of folate receptor-β expression in human neoplastic tissues

Jiayin Shen, Karson S. Putt, Daniel W. Visscher, Linda Murphy, Cynthia Cohen, Sunil Singhal, George Sandusky, Yang Feng, Dimiter S. Dimitrov, Philip S. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Over-expression of folate receptor alpha on cancer cells has been frequently exploited for delivery of folate-targeted imaging and therapeutic agents to tumors. Because limited information exists on expression of the beta isoform of the folate receptor in human cancers (FR-β), we have evaluated the immunohistochemical staining pattern of FR-β in 992 tumor sections from 20 different human cancer types using a new anti-human FR-β monoclonal antibody. FR-β expression was shown to be more pronounced in cells within the stroma, primarily macrophages and macrophagelike cells than cancer cells in every cancer type studied. Moreover, FR-β expression in both cancer and stromal cells was found to be statistically more prominent in females than males. A significant positive correlation was also observed between FR-β expression on stromal cells and both the stage of the cancer and the presence of lymph node metastases. Based on these data we conclude FR-β may constitute a good target for specific delivery of therapeutic agents to activated macrophages and that accumulation of FR-β positive macrophages in the stroma could serve as a useful indicator of a tumor's metastatic potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14700-14709
Number of pages10
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2015


  • Activated macrophage
  • Folate receptor
  • Folate receptor beta
  • Tumor associated macrophage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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