Epidermal growth factor modulates the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in the human prostate

J Androl. May-Jun 2001;22(3):432-43.


The growth and dissemination of tumors in the body has been associated with angiogenesis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenic factor that stimulates endothelial cell growth and enhances vascular permeability. VEGF exerts its action by binding to specific cell surface receptors. Three receptors, VEGFR-1 (flt-1), VEGFR-2 (flk-1), and VEGFR-3 (flt-4) have been identified. Very little information on the coordinated expression of VEGF and its receptors in normal prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate carcinoma is available. Therefore, we examined the immunohistochemical localization of VEGF and its receptors in tissues derived from normal human prostate, BPH, and prostatic carcinoma. Immunostaining for VEGF was absent in the normal prostate. Epithelium lining the glands of prostate derived from patients with BPH exhibited strong immunostaining. The intensity of staining was relatively less in prostate carcinoma. It is interesting that VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-3 were strongly expressed in both stromal and epithelial tissues in normal prostate, BPH, and carcinoma. In comparison, VEGFR-2 was not localized to normal prostate and its expression in the stroma of BPH and epithelium of carcinoma was very weak. Because progression of prostate cancer is accompanied by altered expression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor (EGFR) in malignant cells, we investigated the effect of EGF on VEGF gene expression by Northern blot analysis in 2 human prostate cancer cell lines that express EGFR. EGF greatly enhanced the expression of VEGF messenger RNA in DU145 and PC3 cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. The EGF induction of VEGF gene expression suggests a mechanism by which angiogenesis could be accelerated in BPH and prostate carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Reference Values
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor