Epidermal growth factor binding sites in human pituitary macroadenomas

M. L. Jaffrain-Rea, E. Petrangeli, C. Lubrano, G. Minniti, D. Di Stefano, F. Sciarra, L. Frati, G. Tamburrano, G. Cantore, A. Gulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of epidermal growth factor (EGF) binding sites was determined by competitive binding assays in a series of 46 pituitary macroadenomas. A single concentration of 125I-EGF (1 nM) was used for all experiments. In four cases, a displacement curve was obtained by adding increasing concentrations of cold EGF, and Scatchard analysis showed the presence of two classes of EGF binding sites, with K(d1)=0.62 ± 0.23 nM and K(d2)=53.8 ± 8.2 nM for the high- and low-affinity binding sites respectively. The distribution of EGF binding sites was studied in 42 cases by a single-point assay, in the presence and in the absence of a 100-fold cold EGF excess. A non-parametric distribution of EGF binding sites was observed (median 10.2 fmol/mg membrane protein, range 0.0-332.0). EGF-receptor positivity, defined as EGF binding ≤10.0 fmol/mg protein, was observed in 23 samples (54.8%), especially in prolactinomas (76.5%, P3H]methyltrienolone. No correlation could be found between EGF binding and either the gender and gonadal status of the patients, or the expression of SSRs by the adenomas. We conclude that the EGF family of growth factors may play a role in the evolution of a significant subset of human pituitary adenomas, especially in their invasiveness, and that a high EGF binding capacity may represent an additional marker of aggressiveness for these tumors. Sex steroids do not appear to have a significant role in the regulation of EGF binding in vivo in these tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-433
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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