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Clin Cancer Res. 2001 Jul;7(7):1850-5.

Epidermal growth factor receptor and HER2-neu mRNA expression in non-small cell lung cancer Is correlated with survival.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


The prognostic role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2-neu remains controversial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We studied the association between the mRNA expression of EGFR, HER2-neu, and survival in primary tumor and matching nonmalignant tissues from 83 patients with NSCLC. Analysis was performed using a quantitative real-time PCR system (Taqman). EGFR and HER2-neu mRNA expression was detectable in all (100%) specimens analyzed. Twenty-nine (34.9%) patients had high HER2-neu expression, and 28 (33.7%) patients had high EGFR expression. A high HER2-neu and EGFR coexpression was detectable in 14 (16.9%) patients. High HER2-neu expression was associated with inferior survival (P = 0.004), whereas high EGFR expression showed a trend toward inferior survival (P = 0.176). The impact of HER2-neu and EGFR coexpression on patients' survival was additive (P = 0.003). Multivariate analysis determined high HER2-neu expression (P = 0.041), and high EGFR/HER2-neu coexpression (P = 0.030) as significant and independent unfavorable prognostic factors. These findings indicate that HER2-neu and EGFR play a crucial role in the biological behavior of NSCLCs. Testing of molecular marker coexpression (EGFR and HER2-neu) improves the estimation of prognosis and appears to define low- and high-risk groups for treatment failure in curatively resected NSCLC.

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