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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2009 Jul-Sep;22(3):627-38.

Expression of basic fibroblast growth factor, its receptors and syndecans in bladder cancer.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pathology and Innovative Therapies, Marche Polytechnic University, School of Medicine, Ancona, Italy.


Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a heparin-binding cationic protein involved in a variety of pathological conditions including angiogenesis and solid tumour growth. The basic fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family comprises at least 4 high affinity tyrosine kinase receptors that require syndecans for their function. Mounting evidence indicates that syndecans, that bind both bFGF and their FGFRs, will act as stimulators, whereas syndecans that only bind bFGF will act as inhibitors of signaling by sequestering the growth factor. Recent findings have highlighted the importance of syndecans in urological cancers. The aim of this study is to investigate the expression of bFGF, its receptors (R1 and R2) and syndecans (1-4) in invasive urothelial carcinoma and normal-looking urothelium by Western blotting, RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry analyses. Interestingly, bFGF, FGFR1 and FGFR2 protein levels statistically increased in bladder cancer tissues. mRNA of FGFR1 and syndecans (1-4), showed a statistically significant increase while an mRNA increase in the other molecules analysed was not significant. bFGF, its receptors and syndecan immunostaining were mainly present in the urothelium both in normal-looking tissues and urothelial neoplastic cells. In conclusion, our data report that the bFGF, FGFR and syndecan expressions are altered in bladder tumours.

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