Cellular and Tumor Radiosensitivity is Correlated to Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Protein Expression Level in Tumors Without EGFR Amplification

Turku University Hospital, Turku, Varsinais-Suomi, Finland
International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics (Impact Factor: 4.26). 07/2011; 80(4):1181-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.02.043
Source: PubMed


There is conflicting evidence for whether the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor in human tumors can be used as a marker of radioresponse. Therefore, this association was studied in a systematic manner using squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cell lines grown as cell cultures and xenografts.
The study was performed with 24 tumor cell lines of different tumor types, including 10 SCC lines, which were also investigated as xenografts on nude mice. Egfr gene dose and the length of CA-repeats in intron 1 were determined by polymerase chain reaction, protein expression in vitro by Western blot and in vivo by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and radiosensitivity in vitro by colony formation. Data were correlated with previously published tumor control dose 50% data after fractionated irradiation of xenografts of the 10 SCC.
EGFR protein expression varies considerably, with most tumor cell lines showing moderate and only few showing pronounced upregulation. EGFR upregulation could only be attributed to massive gene amplification in the latter. In the case of little or no amplification, in vitro EGFR expression correlated with both cellular and tumor radioresponse. In vivo EGFR expression did not show this correlation.
Local tumor control after the fractionated irradiation of tumors with little or no gene amplification seems to be dependent on in vitro EGFR via its effect on cellular radiosensitivity.

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