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Exp Ther Med. 2012 Jun;3(6):931-936. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Membranous and cytoplasmic expression of epidermal growth factor receptor in metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo;


Recent studies indicate the clinical significance of the cellular localization of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in a variety of cancer types. Internalization of activated EGFR is reported to be closely associated with patient prognosis. This study investigated the clinical significance of the immunohistochemical localization of EGFR in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancers compared to those with surgically resected pancreatic cancers. Using 44 surgically resected primary pancreatic cancers and 40 primary or meta-static tumors from 20 autopsied patients with far advanced pancreatic cancers, the incidence of membranous and cytoplasmic EGFR overexpression was compared between primary tumors and far advanced tumors by immunohistochemistry using the Dako EGFR pharmDx™ kit, a global standard kit for EGFR assay. In the 44 surgically resected cancers, 13 (30%) exhibited membranous overexpression of EGFR, comprising 1 case (2%) with score 3+ and 12 cases (27%) with score 2+ and 10 (23%) exhibited cytoplasmic overexpression of EGFR. In the 40 tumors at a far advanced stage, the percentage of samples exhibiting positivity for membranous and cytoplasmic EGFR overexpression was 48% (19 of 40) comprising 7 (18%) with score 2+ and 12 (30%) with score 3+ and 33% (13 of 40), respectively. The far advanced tumors tended to show membranous and cytoplasmic EGFR overexpression more frequently than the surgically resected tumors, although the difference was not significant. These findings suggest that membranous and cytoplasmic overexpression of EGFR may be indicative of the potential aggressiveness of pancreatic cancers.

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