Background: The erythropoietin-producing hepatoma amplified sequence (Eph) family is the largest subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). The Ephs (receptors) bind to specific cell-bound ligands, called ephrins. The binding of this ligand-receptor system is dependent on cell-cell interactions. The ephrin-Eph system is important in embryologic development and differentiation of the nervous and vascular systems. In the current study, the authors hypothesized that ephrins may play a role in the growth and development of colon carcinoma and may be expressed differentially in normal and malignant colonic tissues.
Methods: Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Northern Blot analyses, and immunohistochemistry were used to examine 11 colon carcinoma cell lines and 20 human colon carcinoma specimens with adjacent uninvolved mucosa for the expression of EphB and ephrin-B family members.
Results: EphB2, EphB3, and EphB4 mRNA expression and ephrin-B2 mRNA expression was detected in all the cell lines and colon carcinoma specimens examined. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that ephrin-B2 had higher expression in the colon carcinoma specimens studied than in adjacent normal mucosa. Ephrin-B2 and EphB4 most frequently were expressed on the luminal surface of colon carcinoma epithelium.
Conclusions: The results of the current suggest that the ephrin-Bs are expressed differentially in colon carcinoma and normal mucosa specimens and thus may play a role in the progression of colon carcinoma. Further studies are necessary to determine the functional role of ephrin-Bs in colon carcinoma angiogenesis and growth.
Copyright 2002 American Cancer Society. DOI 10.1002/cncr.10122