Increased expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene has been shown in a large number of tumors, generally indicating a more aggressive biological behavior of cancers than those with low or normal expression. The role of EGFR in the tumorigenesis of the uterine cervix has been poorly understood and controversial. In order to explore the relationship between EGFR status and cervical carcinoma, tissues were analyzed from 40 patients, each of whom had invasive cervical carcinoma prior to treatment, 20 patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and 10 control cases who underwent hysterectomy due to benign gynecological disease at Yonsei University College of Medicine. We measured EGFR with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay which was a sandwich type using a mouse monoclonal capture antibody and a rabbit antiserum as detector. Patients with invasive cervical cancer were found to have significantly higher median EGFR expression than either the patients with CIN (P = 0.002) or the control (P = 0.001), respectively. However, there was no significant difference in EGFR status between CIN and the control groups. Overexpression of EGFR was found in 29 of 40 (72.5%) invasive cervical cancers and in 5 of 20 (25%) CIN patients. In invasive cervical cancer, no significant difference in EGFR levels was noted when stratified according to age, menopausal status, histological cell type, or clinical stage. With regard to tumor size, lesions of 4 cm and larger had significantly higher receptor levels than those lesions under 4 cm (P = 0.003). Even though quantitative EGFR status did not correlate with other prognostic parameters except tumor size, our results were consistent with the concept that EGFR may play an important role in malignant transformation and tumorigenesis in cervical cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology