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Molecular detection of epidermal growth factor receptor in colorectal cancer: does it still make sense?

Colorectal Dis 2011;13:542-8


Nannini M, Pantaleo MA, Paterini P, Piazzi G, Ceccarelli C, La Rovere S, Maleddu A, Biasco G.


Aim: The aim of the study was to detect and compare the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) content using different methods, to establish whether the quantitative detection and functional study of EGFr in colorectal cancer, using methods other than immunohistochemistry (IHC), are appropriate. Method  Analysis of EGFr by IHC was performed in 230 colorectal cancer patients using monoclonal anti-EGFr. Total and activated EGFr (pY1068) contents were determined in 92 patients and real-time PCR, to determine the level of EGFr messenger RNA, was carried out in 60 patients.

Results: There was no association between EGFr IHC groups and the mean total EGFr levels measured using ELISA. Conclusion  The study shows that the results of different EGFr detection methods do not correlate with each other. Hence, the real role of EGFr in colorectal cancer remains unsettled. Clinically, the receptor itself does not seem to be important and it would be better to focus on EGFr signalling in downstream pathways.

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