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High predictive value of epidermal growth factor receptor phosphorylation but not of EGFRvIII mutation in resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  1. B Sonnweber1,
  2. M Dlaska1,
  3. S Skvortsov1,
  4. S Dirnhofer2,
  5. T Schmid3,
  6. W Hilbe1
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria
  2. 2Institute of Pathology, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  3. 3Department of Surgery, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr W Hilbe
 Division of General Internal Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstraße 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria; wolfgang.hilbe{at}


Aims: Overexpression and mutation of epidermal growth factor regulator (EGFR) are frequently found in the carcinogenesis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Because targeting of this receptor has proven therapeutic efficacy, studying EGFR has become a matter of particular scientific interest. The present study analysed the EGFR receptor, rate of EGFRvIII mutations, and rate of activated phosphorylated EGFR (pEGFR) by immunohistochemistry on cryostat sections.

Methods: Surgically obtained tumour specimens of a series of 78 NSCLC patients and 66 adjacent tumour free specimens were examined immunohistochemically using monoclonal antibodies to stain EGFR, pEGFR, and EGFRvIII.

Results: EGFRvIII and pEGFR expression was found in 42% and 26% of the tumours respectively and both were increased significantly compared with tumour free samples. EGFR, pEGFR, and EGFRvIII expression did not correlate with any of the previously tested markers (c-erbB-2, c-erbB-3, p53, ki-67, and microvessel density). Similar distributions of immunohistochemical profiles were seen, regardless of histological subtype, age, or sex. In stage I patients, EGFR phosphorylation at tyrosine residue 845 proved to be an independent prognostic factor.

Conclusion: Because pEGFR correlated with poor prognosis, it can be speculated that it plays a crucial biological role in the pathogenesis of NSCLC.

  • EGFR, epidermal growth factor regulator
  • MVD, microvessel density
  • NSCLC, non-small cell lung cancer
  • pEGFR, phosphorylated epidermal growth factor regulator
  • SCC, squamous cell carcinoma
  • EGFR
  • phosphorylation
  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • prognosis

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