Differential expression of epidermal growth factor receptor, c-Met, and HER2/neu in chordoma compared with 17 other malignancies

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Aug;131(8):707-11. doi: 10.1001/archotol.131.8.707.


Objective: To examine the expression of c-Met, c-Erb-b2 (HER2/neu), and epidermal growth factor (EGFR) in a cohort of 12 chordomas, based on the current and future availability of targeted molecular inhibitors.

Design: Protein expression levels were analyzed by immunohistochemical analysis from archival tissue using multitumored tissue microarray and by Spearman rank correlation test.

Setting: Tertiary care facility.

Subjects: We assembled the cohort of 12 chordomas from patients treated at the Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1986 to 2003 and compared them with 51 other tumors from 17 assorted solid tissue tumor types along with 1 sample of healthy tissue from each site.

Main outcome measure: The expression of c-Met, HER2/neu, and EGFR.

Results: Most chordomas displayed strong expression of EGFR and c-Met, whereas a variable level of expression of HER2/neu was seen. In addition, we noted a strong correlation between EGFR and c-Met expression, especially for primary chordomas (P = .006).

Conclusions: Chordomas, like many other solid-tissue tumors, express HER2/neu, EGFR, and the hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor receptor c-Met. Most chordomas had strong expression of both the hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor receptor and EGFR. Inhibitors to EGFR are already in clinical use for other solid-tissue tumors and represent a potentially viable experimental treatment option for refractory chordoma. Further studies are required to investigate these findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chordoma / metabolism*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • ErbB Receptors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • Receptor, ErbB-2