Background: The role of the epidermal growth factor receptor (ErbB1) in the progression of prostate cancer is incompletely understood.
Methods: Tissue microarrays from hormone-naive and advanced androgen-independent tumors were used to investigate the role of ErbB1 in prostate cancer progression.
Results: ErbB1 expression in tumor tissues was strongly associated with hormone-refractory status (odds ratio = 6.67, 95% CI = (2.6, 17.4), P = 0.0001). However, ErbB1 overexpression was not a statistically significant covariate in a multivariate proportional hazards model for biochemical failure of hormone-naïve prostate cancer. Moreover, ErbB1 overexpression was not associated with tumor differentiation (P = 0.44), positive margins (P = 0.53), seminal vesicle invasion (P = 0.69), extraprostatic extension (P = 0.10), or preoperative PSA (P = 0.18) in the hormone-naïve group.
Conclusions: These findings are consistent with a model in which ErbB1 expression increases during the development of the androgen-independent state, and suggest that drugs targeted toward ErbB signaling could be of therapeutic relevance in the management of advanced prostatic carcinoma.