Expression and prognostic value of LRIG1 and the EGF-receptor family in renal cell and prostate cancer

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå university

Abstract: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family consists of four (EGFR, ErbB2, Erbb3, and ErbB4) receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) whose signalling is important for physiological and malignant cellular functions such as proliferation, survival, migration, and differentiation. EGFR and ErbB2 in particular are established oncogenes in many solid tumours and are targets for anti-cancer treatment. LRIG1 (leucine-rich repeats and immunoglobulin-like domains-1) is a protein that negatively regulates the EGFR-family, and other RTKs and is a proposed tumour suppressor. This thesis examines the expression of the EGFR-family members and LRIG1 in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and in prostate cancer (PC).In RCC, up-regulation of EGFR was shown for all RCC types analysed: clear cell (ccRCC), papillary (pRCC), and chromophobe (chRCC). ErbB2 was down-regulated in ccRCC. ErbB3 expression was low in non-neoplastic kidney and not significantly altered in RCC. ErbB4 was strongly down-regulated in the vast majority of RCCs of all types. LRIG1 was down-regulated in ccRCC. No prognostic value was found for any of these factors in RCC. In prostate cancer cells, LRIG1 was shown to be up-regulated by androgen stimulation and suppressed the growth of prostate cancer cells. In prostate cancer, the expression and prognostic value of LRIG1 was investigated in two patient series, one with untreated patients and one with patients who had undergone prostatectomy. In the untreated patient series, LRIG1 correlated with malignancy grade (Gleason score) and poor outcome for patients (both cancer specific and overall survival), being an independent prognostic factor. In contrast, in the series of patients who had undergone prostatectomy, LRIG1 expression correlated with a good outcome (overall survival).Thus in RCC, there were alterations in gene-expression of the EGFR-family members and LRIG1 between kidney cortex and RCC and between the RCC types. Despite few associations with clinical factors, these alterations are likely to be of biological importance. In prostate cancer LRIG1 was up-regulated by androgen stimulation and inhibited cell proliferation. LRIG1 expression had prognostic value in prostate cancer, maybe as a secondary marker of androgen receptor activation or because of growth inhibition of prostate cancer cells. Contradicting findings in untreated patients and patients treated with prostatectomy poses the question of whether the prognostic value of LRIG1 and other markers vary depending on the specific biological and clinical circumstances in the materials studied.

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