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Colorectal Dis. 2011 May;13(5):542-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2010.02212.x.

Molecular detection of epidermal growth factor receptor in colorectal cancer: does it still make sense?

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Department of Hematology and Oncology Sciences L. A. Seràgnoli, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.



The aim of the study was to detect and compare the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) content using different methods, to establish whether the quantitative detection and functional study of EGFr in colorectal cancer, using methods other than immunohistochemistry (IHC), are appropriate.


Analysis of EGFr by IHC was performed in 230 colorectal cancer patients using monoclonal anti-EGFr. Total and activated EGFr (pY1068) contents were determined in 92 patients and real-time PCR, to determine the level of EGFr messenger RNA, was carried out in 60 patients.


There was no association between EGFr IHC groups and the mean total EGFr levels measured using ELISA.


The study shows that the results of different EGFr detection methods do not correlate with each other. Hence, the real role of EGFr in colorectal cancer remains unsettled. Clinically, the receptor itself does not seem to be important and it would be better to focus on EGFr signalling in downstream pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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