Objective: Expression and prognostic impact of some exponents of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) were examined.
Materials and methods: EGF, transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha), EGF receptor (EGF-R), and c-erb B-2 were determined immunohistochemically in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples of 30 patients with locally confined RCCs. The prognostic significance of these growth factors and their receptors as well as of tumor stage and malignancy grade was examined with respect to survival and tumor recurrence by following up the fate of the patients after nephrectomy (mean follow-up time 5.2 years).
Results: The members of the EGF family and their receptors studied were expressed to a variable degree in all RCCs investigated. However, using log-rank tests in Kaplan-Meier plots only tumor stage (p < 0.0007) and malignancy grade (p < 0.007) but none of the growth factors or receptors studied (p > 0.05, respectively) exhibited prognostic significance with respect to both survival and disease-free period. On the contrary, there was a significant correlation between EGF and TGF-alpha (p < 0.001), EGF and EGF-R (p = 0.028), EGF-R and c-erb B-2 (p = 0.0009), and-inversely related-between TGF-alpha and tumor stage (p = 0.047) and between EGF-R and malignancy grade (p = 0.03). The coexpression of the factors studied also showed no prognostic relevance.
Conclusion: The expression of these members of the EGF family seems not to bear evaluable prognostic information for clinical use in the case of RCC.