Purpose: To determine whether the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein was predictive of patient survival independently of other prognostic factors in astrocytic tumors.
Methods and materials: Epidermal growth factor receptor protein expression was investigated immunohistochemically in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded surgical specimens of 55 glioblastoma multiforme, 14 anaplastic astrocytoma, and 2 astrocytomas given definitive irradiation. We evaluated the relationship of EGFR protein expression and tumor grade, histologic features, age at diagnosis, sex, patient survival, and recurrence-free survival.
Results: The percentage of tumor cells which were EGFR positive related to reduced survival by Cox regression analysis in both univariate (p = 0.0424) and multivariate analysis (p = 0.0016). Epidermal growth factor receptor positivity was the only 1 of 11 clinical and histological variables associated with decreased recurrence-free survival by either univariate (p = 0.0353) or multivariate (p=0.0182) analysis. Epidermal growth factor receptor protein expression was not related to patient age, sex, or histologic features.
Conclusion: Epidermal growth factor receptor positivity was a significant and independent prognostic indicator for overall survival and recurrence-free survival for irradiated patients with astrocytic gliomas.