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Cancer Res. 2004 Feb 15;64(4):1220-3.

A functional polymorphism in the EGF gene is found with increased frequency in glioblastoma multiforme patients and is associated with more aggressive disease.

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Surgical Neurology Branch, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/NIH, Building 10, Rm. 5D37, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892-1414, USA.


Glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of primary brain tumor in adults, is nearly universally fatal, with 5-year survivals of <5% (P. Kleihues and W. K. Cavenee, eds., pp. 1-314, Lyon: IARC, 2000). Alterations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are common events in many glioblastoma. We hypothesized that a polymorphism in the 5'-untranslated region of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) gene, a natural ligand of the EGFR, may play a role in the genesis of these malignant gliomas. We find that patients with the GA or GG genotype have higher tumoral levels of EGF, irrespective of EGFR status, that they are more likely to recur after surgery, and that they have a statistically significant shorter overall progression-free survival than patients with the AA genotype. These findings suggest that a single nucleotide polymorphism in EGF may play a role in the formation of glioblastomas, is a useful and powerful prognostic marker for these patients, and may be a target for tumor therapy.

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