Author(s): Messing EM
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Abstract To evaluate the distribution and density of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors (EGF-Rs) on urothelium, immunohistological studies using a monoclonal antibody to the binding portion of the human EGF-R were performed on frozen specimens of normal urothelium (N = 20), urothelium from patients with nonurothelial urological malignancies (N = 15) and inflammatory diseases (N = 8), low grade superficial transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) (N = 13), high grade superficial or invasive TCC (N = 28), and endoscopically normal appearing urothelium from patients with low grade superficial (N = 5) or high grade (N = 21) TCC elsewhere in the bladder (or ipsilateral renal pelvis/ureter). EGF-Rs are found only on the basal layer of epithelial cells (with scattered representation on intermediate cells) in 95\% of normal urothelial specimens and 100\% of pathological specimens without urothelial malignancy. Alternatively, 92.3\% of specimens of low grade superficial TCC and 100\% of high grade TCCs had EGF-Rs richly expressed on the superficial as well as the deeper layers of urothelium. This "malignant" distribution of EGF-Rs was also found on all specimens of endoscopically normal appearing urothelium in patients with TCC elsewhere. The density of EGF-Rs correlated closely with tumor grade on both "premalignant" and frankly neoplastic urothelium. We conclude that the expression of EGF-Rs on urothelium favors the interaction of premalignant and malignant tissue with urinary EGF. To determine if altering the physiochemical environment of urine could interfere with this interaction, the effects of pH on the binding of and growth responses to EGF were assessed on four human TCC cell lines. Scatchard plots demonstrated that varying pH from 5.0 to 7.5 did not significantly change the total number of receptors, but EGF-R affinity was reduced approximately 20-fold as pH decreased from 7.5 to 5 in each TCC target. Similarly, significant growth stimulation by EGF at pH 7.5 was abrogated at pH less than or equal to 7.0 while growth rates in the absence of EGF remained unchanged at lower pHs. It thus appears that urinary acidification may hold promise in the management and prevention of recurrent bladder cancer.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology