Immunoreactive transforming growth factor alpha and epidermal growth factor in oral squamous cell carcinomas

J Pathol. 1993 Mar;169(3):323-8. doi: 10.1002/path.1711690308.


Forty oral squamous cell carcinomas have been investigated immunohistochemically for the presence of transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). The same cases were recently characterized for the expression of EGF-receptors. TGF-alpha was detected with a monoclonal mouse antibody and EGF with polyclonal rabbit antiserum. Thirty-five of the tumours were positive for TGF-alpha and 26 of the tumours for EGF. None of the poorly differentiated tumours was positive for EGF, but they all were for TGF-alpha. In sections including normal differentiated oral mucosa, the cells above the basal cell layer were positive for both TGF-alpha and EGF. The same staining pattern was observed in oral mucosa obtained from healthy persons. In moderately to well differentiated carcinomas, the immunoreactivity was mainly confined to the cytologically more differentiated cells, thus paralleling the situation observed in the normal differentiated oral mucosa. In four cases, material was available from both a primary tumour and a metastasis. Three of these were positive for TGF-alpha and EGF with the same staining pattern as that of the primary tumours. This investigation together with our previous results confirms the existence of TGF-alpha, EGF, and EGF-receptors in the majority of oral squamous cell carcinomas and their metastases.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / chemistry*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mouth Mucosa / chemistry
  • Mouth Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha / analysis*


  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha
  • Epidermal Growth Factor