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Clin Cancer Res. 1995 Mar;1(3):313-25.

The role of colony-stimulating factor 1 and its receptor in the etiopathogenesis of endometrial adenocarcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, and Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) is a homodimeric growth factor that humorally regulates the growth and differentiation of mononuclear phagocytes, and locally regulates maternal-fetal interactions during pregnancy. It exerts these actions through a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor, colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF-1R), the product of the c-fms proto-oncogene. Recent studies have demonstrated overexpression of CSF-1 and its receptor in breast, ovarian, and endometrial adenocarcinomas. To further investigate the possible role of CSF-1 and its receptor in the pathogenesis of endometrial adenocarcinoma, a prospective study was undertaken to study CSF-1 expression in benign and neoplastic endometrial epithelium and to compare serum CSF-1 levels in endometrial adenocarcinoma patients with healthy perimenopausal women. The mean serum levels of CSF-1 in 71 patients with endometrial cancer (4.9 +/- 1.8 microgram/liter) were significantly elevated compared with levels found in the 32 controls (3.5 +/- 1.1 microgram/liter). Within the endometrial adenocarcinoma group, circulating CSF-1 levels were significantly elevated in patients with large tumor volume, high grade, myometrial invasion, residual disease, and circulating CA-125 levels. High serum levels of serum CSF-1 were associated with elevated serum CA19-9 and CA-125 levels. Immunohistochemistry results revealed in tumor epithelium intense staining for CSF-1R (27 of 54 cases, 50%) and elevated staining for CSF-1 (41 of 54 cases, 75.9%), with intense staining of CSF-1 in 16 of 54 cases (29.6%). Staining was significantly greater in intensity and number of cells involved in malignant compared with benign epithelium for CSF-1R and CSF-1 (P = 0.05 and <0.0001, respectively). A positive correlation between amount and intensity of CSF-1 and CSF-1R staining in endometrial adenocarcinoma tissue was also demonstrated (P = 0.007). CSF-1 and CSF-1R mRNA was also detected in the tumor samples, confirming the expression of the protein in these tissues. Reverse transcription-PCR demonstrated the presence of mRNA for both the transmembrane and secreted forms of CSF-1 in all tumors analyzed. These results therefore support the hypotheses that CSF-1 and CSF-1R are overexpressed in endometrial adenocarcinoma, that levels of expression significantly correlate with clinicopathological risk factors for poor outcome, and that CSF-1 in association with its receptor via autocrine, juxtacrine, and/or paracrine interactions has a causal role in endometrial adenocarcinoma development and proliferation.

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