Epidermal growth factor receptor expression status in lung cancer correlates with its mutation

Hum Pathol. 2005 Oct;36(10):1127-34. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2005.08.007.


The molecular mechanisms for frequent epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, a tyrosine kinase [TK]) and HER2 (the preferred coreceptor of EGFR) overexpression in lung cancer are poorly understood. Recent studies have shown the mutations of the TK domain in EGFR and HER2 to be present in lung cancer. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between mutation status and expression of EGFR and HER2 in lung cancer. Immunostaining took place for EGFR and HER2, and mutational analyses for EGFR, HER2, and KRAS (a signaling protein) were conducted using 130 resected lung cancer specimens. Thirty-seven EGFR mutations (28%) and 8 HER2 mutations (6%), both of the TK domains, and 5 KRAS (4%) mutations were found, whereas 73 (56%) EGFR and 47 (36%) HER2 overexpressions were found. EGFR overexpression was seen more frequently in tumors with EGFR mutation (28/37, 76%) than in tumors without EGFR mutations (45/93, 48%; P = .0059). No correlation was found between HER2 mutation and HER2 expression. Multivariate regression revealed that EGFR mutation, adenocarcinoma histology, and HER2 expression were associated with EGFR expression, whereas female sex, EGFR mutation, and EGFR expression were associated with HER2 expression. In conclusion, EGFR and HER2 overexpression is frequent in lung cancer, and EGFR overexpression correlates with the EGFR TK domain mutations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Duplication
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Japan
  • Lung Neoplasms / classification
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / genetics
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / metabolism
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Deletion
  • ras Proteins


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins