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Am J Pathol. 2002 Sep;161(3):929-38.

Blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling on tumor cells and tumor-associated endothelial cells for therapy of human carcinomas.

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Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) and activated EGF-R by tumor-associated endothelial cells is influenced by interaction with specific growth factors in the microenvironment. Different human carcinoma cell lines expressing EGF-R with low or high levels of EGF/transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha were implanted into orthotopic organs of nude mice. In the EGF/TGF-alpha-positive bladder cancer (253J-BV), pancreatic cancer (L3.6pl), and renal cancer (RBM1-IT) but not in the EGF/TGF-alpha-negative renal cancer SN12-PM6, tumor-associated endothelial cells expressed EGF-R and activated EGF-R. Mice were implanted with human 253J-BV bladder tumors (EGF+) or human SN12-PM6 renal tumors (EGF-). Treatment with oral PKI 166 (a specific inhibitor of EGF-R phosphorylation) alone, intraperitoneal paclitaxel alone (253J-BV), gemcitabine alone (SN12-PM6), or combination of PKI 166 and chemotherapy produced a 60%, 32%, or 81% reduction in the volume of 253J-BV bladder tumors, respectively, and 26%, 23%, or 51% reduction in the volume of SN12-PM6 kidney tumors, respectively. Immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated down-regulation of activated EGF-R in EGF/TGF-alpha-positive and EGF/TGF-alpha-negative lesions from mice treated with PKI 166, although apoptosis of tumor-associated endothelial cells was found only in EGF/TGF-alpha-positive tumors. Collectively, these data suggest that expression of activated EGF-R by tumor-associated endothelial cells provides an important target for therapy.

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