The role of the epidermal-growth-factor receptor (EGFR) in cervical cancer is controversial, due to technical difficulties in localizing or in quantifying EGFR by homogenate assays or immunohistochemistry. Our autoradiographic approach, in combination with morphometry, allowed cell- type-specific quantification of EGFR, leading to the following observations: (i) In normal cervical epithelium, EGFR levels per cell were high in non- dividing squamous cells of the upper layers of normal epithelium, where a mitogenic function of these EGFRs can be excluded. (ii) In contrast to earlier findings in tissue homogenates, but consistent with our observation in normal cervical epithelium that cells of the proliferating strata (basal and parabasal cells) express intermediate and comparatively reduced levels of EGFR per cell, cervical cancers displayed a significant reduction both of specific EGF binding and of EGFR levels per cell as compared with normal epithelium. (iii) A significant negative correlation of cell density and EGFR number per cell was obtained. In normal cervical epithelium, cervical intra- epithelial neoplasia and invasive cervical cancer (p = 0.002). This negative correlation was most evident in normal epithelium, where large changes of cell density occur within one slide (p ≤ 0.00 I). (iv) Specific EGF-binding was also significantly reduced in endometrial cancers when compared with normal endometrium. It is proposed that in uterine tissues low or intermediate levels of EGFR do not exclude their function as mediators of cell proliferation.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Cancer
|Published - Feb 20 1998
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research