Correlation between egfr expression and accelerated proliferation during radiotherapy of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma

Piernicola Pedicini, Antonio Nappi, Lidia Strigari, Barbara Alicia Jereczek-Fossa, Daniela Alterio, Marta Cremonesi, Francesca Botta, Barbara Vischioni, Rocchina Caivano, Alba Fiorentino, Giuseppina Improta, Giovanni Storto, Marcello Benassi, Roberto Orecchia, Marco Salvatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the correlation between the expression of Epidermal Growth Factor receptor (EGFr) and the reduction of the effective doubling time (TD) during radiotherapy treatment and also to determine the dose per fraction to be taken into account when the overall treatment time (OTT) is reduced in accelerated radiotherapy of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).Methods: A survey of the published papers comparing 3-years of local regional control rate (LCR) for a total of 2162 patients treated with conventional and accelerated radiotherapy and with a pretreatment assessment of EGFr expression, was made. Different values of TD were obtained by a model incorporating the overall time corrected biologically effective dose (BED) and a 3-year clinical LCR for high and low EGFr groups of patients (HEGFr and LEGFr), respectively. By obtaining the TD from the above analysis and the sub-sites' potential doubling time (Tpot) from flow cytometry and immunohistochemical methods, we were able to estimate the average TD for each sub-site included in the analysis. Moreover, the dose that would be required to offset the modified proliferation occurring in one day (Dprolif), was estimated.Results: The averages of TD were 77 (27-90)95% days in LEGFr and 8.8 (7.3-11.0)95% days in HEGFr, if an onset of accelerated proliferation TK at day 21 was assumed. The correspondent HEGFr sub-sites' TD were 5.9 (6.6), 5.9 (6.6), 4.6 (6.1), 14.3 (12.9) days, with respect to literature immunohistochemical (flow cytometry) data of Tpot for Oral-Cavity, Oro-pharynx, Hypo-pharynx, and Larynx respectively. The Dprolif for the HEGFr groups were 0.33 (0.29), 0.33 (0.29), 0.42 (0.31), 0.14 (0.15) Gy/day if α = 0.3 Gy-1 and α/β = 10 Gy were assumed.Conclusions: A higher expression of the EGFr leads to enhanced proliferation. This study allowed to quantify the extent of the effect which EGFr expression has in terms of reduced TD and Dprolif for each head and neck sub-site.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143
JournalRadiation Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 24 2012


  • Cell loss factor
  • Doubling time
  • EGFr
  • Potential doubling time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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