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Life Sci. 2011 Aug 29;89(9-10):304-12. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2011.06.020. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Characterization of soluble and exosomal forms of the EGFR released from pancreatic cancer cells.

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Medizinische Universitätsklinik, Knappschaftskrankenhaus, IMBL, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany.



Members of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family represent validated targets for anti-cancer therapy and EGFR inhibitors have also shown efficacy in pancreatic carcinoma. We here described in detail molecular forms of the EGF receptor released by pancreatic cancer cells. We found peptides specific for the EGFR in the secretomes of five pancreatic cancer cell lines. Secretomes from cultured cancer cells are widely used as sources for serum biomarker discovery.


The detailed analysis of EGFR forms in secretomes of human pancreatic cancer cells is a compilation of results from mass spectrometry (MS) and Western blotting with intracellular and extracellular domain specific antibodies.


Pancreatic cancer cells secrete a 110 kDa soluble form of the EGFR (sEGFR) representing the ligand binding extracellular EGFR domains and presumably released by ectodomain shedding. At the same time, as constituents of exosomes, the EGFR is released as full-length intact receptor (170 kDa) and as a 65 kDa processed form, the C-terminal remnant fragment that corresponds to the intracellular kinase domain.


The detailed characterization of diverse EGFR forms released by pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and presumably in vivo bears important implications for functional studies, for the validation of soluble EGFR as a serum biomarker and for the design of targeted therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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