, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 93-104

Prognostic relevance of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) and c-neu/erbB2 expression in glioblastomas (GBMs)

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Seventeen untreated primary adult glioblastomas were analyzed using immunocytochemistry for the expression of EGF-R, c-neu/erbB2, TGF-α, and phosphotyrosine. Patients were divided by median survival into long-term or short-term survivors (LTS, N=10, median > 4 years; versus STS, N=7, median 61 weeks). There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of age, extent of resection, post-operative Karnofsky status, or treatment. Diagnostic sections from each tumor were stained with antibodies to EGF-R, c-neu/erbB2, TGF-α and phosphotyrosine. Double-labelling for TGF-α and EGF-R was also performed. All 10/10 LTS were considered to be EGF-R negative/scant, while 4/7 STS were EGF-R positive. EGF-R negativity significantly correlated with long-term survival. The differences in c-neu/erbB2 expression did not reach significance. However, 4/7 STS were positive for both proteins and 76% of the 17 cases were either double negative or positive for EGF-R and c-neu/erbB2. TGF-α and phosphotyrosine were frequently expressed, but neither were prognostic. Recurrent tumors were studied in 7 STS. EGF-R expression was increased in 4/7 of these cases and c-neu/erbB2 was increased in all 7 cases, compared to the pretreatment baselines. Increased expression of these proteins in glioblastomas may be associated with aggressive clinical behavior and treatment resistance.