The epidermal growth factor family in pulmonary carcinoids: immunohistochemical evidence of growth-promoting circuits.

P. Battista, G. Pizzicannella, P. Vitullo, R. Palmirotta, R. Mariani-Costantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Autocrine neoplastic growth circuits are based on excess synthesis of growth factors and/or cognate membrane receptors. We analyzed by immunohistochemistry 19 typical lung carcinoids for the expression of the epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor alpha (TGF alpha), EGF receptor (EGFr), and EGFr-related c-erbB-2 protein (p185). Thirteen tumors (68%) were positive for TGF alpha, 11 for EGFr (58%), three for EGF (16%), and four for p185 (21%). Six carcinoids (32%) were consistently negative for these gene products. The following patterns of coexpression could be documented: TGF alpha, EGFr, EGF, and p185: two cases (11%); TGF alpha, EGFr, and EGF: one case (5%); TGF alpha, EGFr, and p185: two cases (11%); TGF alpha and EGFr: six cases (32%); TGF alpha by itself: two cases (11%). Thus, EGFr was coexpressed with its ligands, TGF alpha and EGF, and the receptor encoded by c-erbB-2 was detected in carcinoids positive for EGFr and TGF alpha. Therefore, alterations of EGF/EGFr-related growth control pathways may be implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary carcinoids via the establishment of autocrine growth promoting circuits, as documented in adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas of the lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalModern Pathology
Volume6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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