Background: Leucine-rich and immunoglobulin-like domains 1-3 (LRIG1-3) proteins have been implicated in the regulation of EGFR signalling. In the present study, we investigated the clinical implications of the expression of EGFR and LRIG1-3 in oesophageal carcinoma, as well as the correlation between their expression levels and the chemosensitivity of oesophageal carcinoma cell lines.
Patients and methods: Tumours from 80 patients with oesophageal carcinoma were investigated for the expression of EGFR and LRIG proteins by immunohistochemistry. Oesophageal carcinoma cell lines were investigated for their expression of EGFR and LRIG1, 2, and 3 by quantitative real time RT-PCR and for their sensitivity to commonly used chemotherapeutics by a cytotoxicity assay.
Results and discussion: Based on a total score of intensity and expression rates, a trend towards survival difference was found for EGFR (p = 0.09) and LRIG2 (p = 0.18) whereas for LRIG1 and -3 there was no trend towards any association with survival. Correlation analysis revealed a correlation with the clinical expression of EGFR and LRIG3 (p = 0.0007). Significant correlations were found between LRIG1 expression levels and sensitivity to cisplatin (r = -0.74), docetaxel (r = -0.69), and vinorelbine (r = -0.82) in oesophageal carcinoma cell lines. EGFR and the LRIG proteins may be functionally involved in oesophageal carcinoma, but larger materials are needed to fully elucidate the clinical implication.