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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of HER3, HER4 and their ligand heregulin-4 is associated with better survival in bladder cancer patients.

The epidermal growth factor system has been associated to prognosis in patients with bladder cancer based mainly on the expression of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor 1 (EGFR) and HER2 and their activating ligands. Since limited information exists concerning the expression of other parts of the EGF system, we examined the expression of the receptors HER3 and HER4 and their activating ligands, the heregulins (HRGs), in bladder cancer patients. Biopsies from bladder cancer tumours were obtained from 88 patients followed for a median of 23 months (range, 1-97 months). The mRNA content of four ligands and their isoforms (HRG1alpha, HRG1beta, HRG2alpha, HRG2beta, HRG3 and HRG4) and two receptors (HER3 and HER4) was quantified by real-time PCR. A significantly lower mRNA expression level of HER3 (P=0.0003), HRG2alpha (P=0.0159), HRG2beta (P=0.0007) and HRG4 (P<0.0001) was observed in muscle-invasive (T2-T4) tumours as compared to superficial (Ta) tumours. The expression of HER3 mRNA correlated strongly to overall survival (P=0.0042); increased expression of HER4 (P=0.0261) and HRG4 (P=0.0245) was also associated with better prognosis. Interestingly, patients with coexpression of HER3 (P=0.0034) or HER4 (P=0.0080) together with their stimulating ligand HRG4 showed even better survival than for HER3 or HER4 alone. Our results together with previous data suggest a dual face for the EGF system. While it is well established that an increased signalling through HER1 and HER2 is related to a poor prognosis, our data suggest that signalling through HER3 and HER4 is related to a favourable outcome in bladder cancer patients.[1]


  1. Expression of HER3, HER4 and their ligand heregulin-4 is associated with better survival in bladder cancer patients. Memon, A.A., Sorensen, B.S., Melgard, P., Fokdal, L., Thykjaer, T., Nexo, E. Br. J. Cancer (2004) [Pubmed]
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