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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1993;26(3):289-95.

Epidermal growth factor receptor levels increase but epidermal growth factor receptor ligand levels decrease in mouse mammary tumors during progression from hormone dependence to hormone independence.

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


Twenty-six serially transplanted Grunder (GR) strain mouse mammary tumors were analyzed for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and EGFR-ligand levels, in addition to steroid hormone receptors (estrogen receptor, ER, progesterone receptor, PgR). In concordance with earlier studies, hormone dependent (HD) and hormone responsive (HR) tumors were found to be positive for both ER and PgR, whereas hormone independent (HI) tumors contained only 30% of the ER concentration that was found in the HD tumors. PgR was undetectable in HI tumors. HI tumors contained 2.5 to 3-fold higher EGFR levels than HD/HR tumors, an observation which shows remarkable concordance with studies on EGFR in human breast cancer. On the other hand, the level of EGFR-ligand(s) was positively associated with ER levels and was three-fold higher in HD/HR tumors than in HI tumors. The low EGFR in HD/HR tumors relative to HI tumors may be the result of downregulation by EGFR ligands produced under ER control. During progression to hormone independence this downregulation of EGFR is then abolished in absence of ER. The increase in EGFR may therefore be a secondary effect rather than a key event in the progression to hormone independence in this mouse mammary tumor model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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