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Eur J Cancer. 1992;28(2-3):693-7.

Epidermal growth factor receptors in human breast cancer: a plea for standardisation of assay methodology.

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Department of Experimental and Chemical Endocrinology, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


In a prospective study 200 primary human breast cancer specimens were analysed for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) content by means of a multiple point ligand binding assay, proposed by the EORTC Receptor Study Group to be the standard EGFR assay. In 54% of the tumours the presence of saturable high affinity binding sites for epidermal growth factor could be demonstrated. The median EGFR level was 34 fmol/mg of membrane protein, the median Kd 0.50 nmd. Univariate analysis of the EGFR data stratified according to patient age, menopausal status, tumour size, axillary lymph node status, histological tumour type, tumour differentiation grade or the tumours' steroid hormone receptor status showed EGFR to be positively associated with younger age (P = 0.03), tumour dedifferentiation (P = 0.04) and steroid hormone receptor negativity (P less than 0.001). No association between EGFR and menopausal status, tumour size, axillary lymphnode status or histological tumour type could be demonstrated.

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