Objective: To determine epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC), and its possible relationships with clinical findings, histological findings, disease course and prognosis.
Materials and methods: Surgical specimens of 47 OSCCs were studied immunohistochemically for detection of EGFR using a standardized immunohistochemical detection system (EGFR PharmaDx kit). Statistical analysis was used to investigate possible relationships between EGFR expression and clinical findings, histological findings, cell proliferation (MIB1 labelling index), disease course and patient survival.
Results: Epidermal growth factor receptor expression was absent or weak in 12 cases (25.5%) and moderate or intense in 35 cases (74.5%). However, EGFR expression did not show statistically significant associations with any of the clinical, histological, biological or prognostic variables considered.
Conclusion: First, despite previous suggestions that EGFR is a useful indicator of biological tumour behaviour, the present results suggest that EGFR is not a useful indicator of prognosis in OSCC. Secondly, the high prevalence of EGFR overexpression suggests that the possibility of anti-EGFR therapy in OSCC merits further investigation.