Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Using the monoclonal antibody EGFR1, normal mammary gland and a series of 213 unselected primary breast tumours were investigated immunohistochemically for expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In normal breast EGFR was expressed in variable patterns in lobular, ductal, and myoepithelial cells. In fibroadenoma, EGFR was detectable in variable numbers of ductal and myoepithelial cells and in stromal fibroblasts. The myoepithelial compartment of 2 cystosarcomas phyllodes also expressed EGFR. Among the 197 carcinomas tested only 20.3% contained EGFR expressing tumour cells which represented a minority in 12.2%, the majority in 2.1%, and the entire neoplastic population in 6.1% of the cases. Again, non-neoplastic ductal remnants often contained EGFR positive myoepithelial and ductal cells whereas stromal fibro-blasts expressed EGFR only occasionally. We conclude that in contrast to the normal state, EGFR-expression is a rather rare phenomenon in breast carcinoma cells, positively correlated with a declining grade of differentiation (p〈0.025) and at least occasionally associated with squamous metaplasia within the tumour, that EGFR expression is not exclusively restricted to cells of the epithelial lineage, and that EGFR may have other functions not related to proliferation, since it is commonly detectable in myoepithelial cells.
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