The HGF receptor c-Met is overexpressed in esophageal adenocarcinoma

Neoplasia. 2005 Jan;7(1):75-84. doi: 10.1593/neo.04367.


The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor, Met, has established oncogenic properties; however, its expression and function in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) remain poorly understood. We aimed to determine the expression and potential alterations in Met expression in EA. Met expression was investigated in surgical specimens of EA, Barrett's esophagus (BE), and normal esophagus (NE) using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Met expression, phosphorylation, and the effect of COX-2 inhibition on expression were examined in EA cell lines. IHC demonstrated intense Met immunoreactivity in all (100%) EA and dysplastic BE specimens. In contrast, minimal immunostaining was observed in BE without dysplasia or NE specimens. Met mRNA and protein levels were increased in three EA cell lines, and Met protein was phosphorylated in the absence of serum. Sequence analysis found the kinase domain of c-met to be wild type in all three EA cell lines. HGF mRNA expression was identified in two EA cell lines. In COX-2-overexpressing cells, COX-2 inhibition decreased Met expression. Met is consistently overexpressed in EA surgical specimens and in three EA cell lines. Met dysregulation occurs early in Barrett's dysplasia to adenocarcinoma sequence. Future study of Met inhibition as a potential biologic therapy for EA is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Barrett Esophagus / metabolism
  • Barrett Esophagus / pathology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / chemistry
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Up-Regulation
  • fas Receptor / metabolism


  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Membrane Proteins
  • fas Receptor
  • Hepatocyte Growth Factor
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met