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

Expression of transforming growth factor alpha in plutonium-239-induced lung neoplasms in dogs: investigations of autocrine mechanisms of growth.

We have previously shown that 47% of radiation-induced lung neoplasms in dogs exhibit increased expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In this study, we investigated the expression of transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha), a ligand for EGFR, to determine if an autocrine mechanism for growth stimulation was present in these tumors. As determined by immunohistochemistry, 59% (26/44) of the lung neoplasms examined had increased expression of TGF-alpha. Expression of TGF-alpha was not related to the etiology of the tumor, e.g., spontaneous or plutonium-induced; however, it was related to the phenotype of the tumor. Statistical analysis of the correlation of EGFR and TGF-alpha expression within the same tumor did not show a positive association; however, specific phenotypes did have statistically significant expression of EGFR or TGF-alpha, suggesting that overexpression of either the ligand or its receptor conferred a growth advantage to the neoplasm. Twenty-seven percent (32/117) of radiation-induced proliferative epithelial foci expressed TGF-alpha, and a portion of those foci (8/32) expressed both EGFR and TGF-alpha. This supports the hypothesis that these foci represent preneoplastic lesions, and suggests that those foci exhibiting increased expression of the growth factor or its receptor are at greater risk for progressing to neoplasia.[1]


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