Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene copy number in colorectal adenoma-carcinoma progression

Marcella Flora, Simonetta Piana, Cristina Bassano, Alessandra Bisagni, Loredana De Marco, Alessia Ciarrocchi, Elena Tagliavini, Giorgio Gardini, Ione Tamagnini, Chiara Banzi, Giancarlo Bisagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adenomas are the easily identifiable precursors of the vast majority of colorectal cancers. Some of their morphological features, such as dysplasia, are predictive of their biological evolution toward adenocarcinomas. A large body of evidence has demonstrated that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling pathway is commonly activated in colorectal cancer and EGFR-target therapies have improved the outcome for colorectal cancer patients. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying the role of EGFR in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence are not entirely clear. We retrospectively analyzed EGFR gene copy number by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in paraffin-embedded tissue from 215 patients recruited through a prospective colorectal cancer screening procedure and undergoing surgical colectomy. We observed that in human colorectal carcinogenesis, EGFR copy number increases progressively, from adenomas with high-grade dysplasia to locally advanced adenocarcinomas, through early invasive adenocarcinomas, suggesting that deregulation of EGFR may correlate with the malignant progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-635
Number of pages6
JournalCancer genetics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Colorectal cancer
  • EGFR
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Gene copy number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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