Expression of the ErbB family of receptors in ovarian cancer

J Soc Gynecol Investig. 1998 May-Jun;5(3):161-5. doi: 10.1016/s1071-5576(98)00006-9.


Objective: To characterize the relative levels of the ErbB family of receptors and their relationship to one another in ovarian cancer.

Methods: A total of 17 serous cystadenocarcinomas were analyzed for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R or ErbB-1) and ErbB-2, ErbB-3, and ErbB-4 receptor expression by Western blot analysis. Receptor levels were quantified by densitometry and expressed as relative densitometry units normalized to the level of alpha-tubulin. Linear regression analysis was used to analyze receptor group differences. A value of P < or = .05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: All 17 tumors expressed detectable levels of EGF-R, ErbB-2, and ErbB-3, but ErbB-4 expression was not detected. EGF-R levels correlated with ErbB-2 (r = .70, P < .01) and ErbB-3 (r = .52, P < .05) levels. The highest correlation was obtained between the levels of ErbB-2 and ErbB-3 (r = 0.81, P < .001).

Conclusion: This study indicates an association between the levels of ErbB receptor family members in ovarian cancer. This association suggests that one or more coordinated regulatory mechanisms may be involved in determining their relative expression levels to one another.

MeSH terms

  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / chemistry*
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / mortality
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / analysis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3
  • Receptor, ErbB-4
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survival Rate


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • ERBB4 protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Receptor, ErbB-3
  • Receptor, ErbB-4