Objective: To determine whether epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) immunostaining of tumour cells is associated with cancer-specific death after cystectomy for locally advanced bladder cancer.
Patients and methods: The hospital records of all patients treated with cystectomy for urothelial cancer of the urinary bladder between 1967 and 1992 were reviewed retrospectively. The paraffin-embedded specimens obtained before treatment from 173 patients were processed for immunohistochemical staining, using the monoclonal antibody NCL-EGFR (Novocastra, UK). EGFR immunostaining was considered positive if membrane staining was found in at > or = 20% of tumour cells in one or more fields at > or = 200 (area 0.59 mm2).
Results: Most patients (149) received preoperative irradiation and one had neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The mean observation time was 81.3 months; 63 patients (36%) had tumour recurrence within 1-80 months (mean 18.3). Positive EGFR immunostaining was found in 100 patients (58%). The proportion of T2-4 tumours was higher in those EGFR-positive than in those EGFR-negative. Proportional-hazards analysis revealed that clinical stage was significantly associated with cancer-specific death, but EGFR expression was not.
Conclusion: Although positive immunostaining for EGFR was more frequent in higher stages of locally advanced bladder cancer, this variable was not an independent predictor of outcome after cystectomy.