Clinicopathological significance of epidermal growth factor and its receptor in human pancreatic cancer

Anticancer Res. Sep-Oct 1997;17(5B):3841-7.


The expression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor (EGF-R) was examined immunohistochemically in 60 primary and 26 metastatic lesions of pancreatic carcinoma. EGF was stained mainly in the cytoplasm of tumor cells, and EGF-R was stained mainly on the surface of cells. The expression rates of EGF and EGF-R were 28% and 43% for primary lesions, and 46% and 46% for metastatic lesions, respectively. The expression of EGF and EGF-R alone did not correlate with any clinicopathological factors such as clinical stage, tumor size, nodal involvement, histology, etc. The median survival period after pancreatectomy was 21.4 months for patients with EGF(+) cancers and 25.1 months for those with EGF (-) ones. On the other hand, the median survival period was 22.7 months for patients with EGF-R (+) cancers and 25.0 months for those with EGF-R (-) cancers. There were no significant differences in survival between groups of patients differing in EGF or EGF-R expression. When the expression of EGF and EGF-R was analysed in combination, the survival curve of patients with EGF(+) and EGF-R(+) cancers was found to be lower than that of the rest of the patients (p = 0.07), and especially the survival curve of patients with EGF(+)EGF-R(+) cancers was significantly lower than that of patients with EGF(+)EGF-R(-) cancers (p = 0.02), and EGF(-)EGF-R(+) cancers (p = 0.06). These results indicate that the expression of EGF or EGF-R alone in pancreatic cancer does not reflect the prognosis of patients; however the coexpression of EGF and EGF-R may be a beneficial prognostic factor for pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / chemistry
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / analysis*
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • ErbB Receptors