Biomarkers in non-small cell lung carcinoma methodological aspects and influence of gender, histology and smoking habits on estrogen receptor and epidermal growth factor family receptor signalling

University dissertation from Örebro : Örebro universitet

Abstract: Non-small cell lung carcinoma is a leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. There are gender and smoking associated differences both in tumour types and clinical outcome. Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are more frequent among smoking men while females develop adenocarcinomas (ADCA). NSCLC among never smokers are mainly ADCA, and occurs mostly in females. The present thesis elucidates the role of estrogen receptor (ER) and epidermal growth factor receptor family (EGFR/HER2-4) in NSCLC in the perspective of gender and histology as well as the influence of smoking on those biomarkers.A recently developed technique, tissue micro array (TMA), was employed.The question of how much of a tumour tissue that needed to be included in a TMA for biomarker analysis was analyzed by a statistical approach. Data indicates a sample size of three cylinders of tumour tissue with a diameter of 0.6 mm each as being appropriate and cost-effective. In order to optimally use the up to thousands of different tumour samples within a TMA, it would be optimal to serially cut and store slides before performing in situ detection of proteins and nucleic acids. Applying up to date methodology, and by evaluation with image analysis, data are presented that shows that such handling of TMA slides would be possible without any loss of biomarker information.ER? is more frequently observed in ADCA and in females and a local estradiol synthesis is supported by the presence of aromatase. ER? is identified as a positive prognostic marker in ADCA. Smoking is associated to increased levels of ER? mRNA. EGFR over expression is associated with a ligand. Independent phosporylation of ER?. HER-4 intracellular domain may also act as a co-activator to ER? in ADCA, especially among neversmokers. The question of ER and EGFR family signalling crosstalk as a potential target for combined targeted therapy is raised.