Autonomous proliferation of colon cancer cells that coexpress transforming growth factor alpha and its receptor. Variable effects of receptor-blocking antibody

Gastroenterology. 1992 Feb;102(2):474-85. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(92)90093-e.


Four human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines, SNU-C1, SNU-C4, SNU-C5, and NCI-H716, that are capable of proliferating autonomously in serum-free medium containing no added peptide growth factors were identified. All four cell lines show epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors (EGFRs), express transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) messenger RNA, and release anti-TGF-alpha-immunoreactive molecules. The blocking anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody (mAb) 225 blocks autonomous proliferation of SNU-C1 and SNU-C4 cells. In both of these cell lines, the inhibitory effect of mAb 225 is reversible by the addition of EGF, TGF-alpha, or conditioned medium from any of the four cell lines. In contrast, autonomous proliferation of SNU-C5 and NCI-H716 cells is not inhibited by mAb 225 and is not affected by exogenous EGF, TGF-alpha, or conditioned medium. Together, these data confirm the previous finding that anti-EGFR antibodies can inhibit the proliferation of some carcinoma cell lines that coexpress TGF-alpha and EGFR. However, here it is shown that the mechanisms of autonomous proliferation of colon carcinoma cell lines are heterogeneous and not always sensitive to antibody disruption of TGF-alpha/EGFR autocrine interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • ErbB Receptors / biosynthesis
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha / biosynthesis
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha / pharmacology
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha / physiology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • ErbB Receptors