Clinical relevance of transforming growth factor alpha, epidermal growth factor receptor, p53, and Ki67 in colorectal liver metastases and corresponding primary tumors

Hepatology. 1998 Oct;28(4):971-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.510280411.


To determine whether the expression of transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha), its receptor (epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFr]), p53 nuclear protein, and proliferation influences prognosis of patients with liver metastases, a study was performed in 45 liver metastases and 33 corresponding primary colorectal carcinomas in patients referred for liver surgery. The expression of TGF-alpha, EGFr, p53 nuclear protein, and proliferation rate was correlated with clinicopathological characteristics and survival after partial liver resection. In liver metastases, TGF-alpha expression was low in 42%, intermediate in 35%, and high in 23%. TGF-alpha expression was higher in liver metastases derived from lymph node-positive primary carcinomas, in synchronous and in irresectable liver metastases compared with those derived from lymph node-negative primary carcinomas, metachronous, and resectable liver metastases. Nuclear p53 expression was found in 83% of primary tumors and 71% of liver metastases. p53 expression did not correlate with the various clinicopathological characteristics. Ki67 expression was not associated with clinicopathological characteristics in primary and metastatic tumors. In the 38 patients in whom a partial liver resection was performed, median survival was 25 months in patients with a higher TGF-alpha expression in the metastasis than in the primary tumor and 60 months in patients with comparable or lower TGF-alpha expression in the metastasis than in the primary tumor (P = .036). Median survival after liver resection was 21 months in patients with p53-negative liver metastases and 58 months in patients with p53-positive metastases (P = .043). By multivariate analysis, p53 and EGFr expression on liver metastases were the best predictors of disease-free survival after partial liver resection, with relative risks of 2.38 and 3.33, respectively. In patients with colorectal liver metastases, referred for liver surgery, a higher TGF-alpha expression is associated with unfavorable tumor characteristics, whereas p53 and absence of EGFr expression is associated with a better survival after partial liver resection.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis*
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha / analysis*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis*


  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ErbB Receptors