Study Demonstrates New Prognostic Biomarkers in Pancreatic Cancer

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the insulinlike growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) could have prognostic value in specific cancer types, according to a team of researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Epidermal growth factor receptor and insulinlike growth factor 1 receptor expression predict poor survival in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma,” which is published in the July 15 issue of Cancer.

In this study, the investigators aimed to evaluate the expression levels of EGFR and IGF-1R proteins and measure IGF-1R gene copy number in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and correlate these data with the patients' characteristics and prognosis. Using immunohistochemical staining to evaluate expression in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue derived from tumor specimens recovered during surgery as well as chromogenic in situ hybridization to quantify IGF-1R gene copy number, the investigators were able to meet the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included associations between EFGR and IGF-1R expression and pathologic variables.

The investigators reported data on 105 patients. EGFR expression was present in 30.4% of cases and was associated with lymph node metastasis (P=.038). IGF-1R was overexpressed in 53% of tumors and correlated with higher tumor grade (P=.033). High membranous expression of EGFR (P <.001) and/or IGF-1R (P=.004), the cytoplasmic detection of EGFR (P=.027), and high expression levels of IGF-1R in the tumoral stroma (P<.001) were all associated with shorter overall survival, being significantly better in patients who simultaneously do not express membranous EGFR or stromal IGF-1R.

The investigators concluded: “EGFR and IGF-1R expression, in neoplastic and stromal cells, seems to be an important prognostic factor.”


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