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

Tumour progression in experimental oral carcinogenesis is associated with changes in EGF and TGF-beta receptor expression and altered responses to these growth factors.

This study examined the characteristics of premalignant oral epithelial cell lines derived from non-invasive palatal and lingual mucosa of rats painted with the carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline N-oxide (4NQO) in vivo. In contrast to normal keratinocytes, premalignant epithelial cells had an extended life span, were independent of 3T3 fibroblast support, and expressed variable anchorage independence in gel culture and tumorigenicity in athymic mice. The expression of these functional phenotypes did not correlate with the duration of 4NQO treatment. Keratinocytes from 4NQO-treated tissues predominantly had fewer epidermal growth factor ( EGF) receptors than normal controls. The expression of high-affinity EGF receptors paralleled the emergence of the anchorage-independent phenotype and was markedly elevated in tumorigenic cell lines. Cell lines with an extended life span expressed fewer transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta) receptors than their normal counterparts though the loss of these receptors appeared to be unrelated to either anchorage independence or tumorigenicity. Normal keratinocytes were stimulated and inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, by EGF and TGF-beta respectively. By contrast, a cell line that was immortal, anchorage dependent and non-tumorigenic showed reduced sensitivity to stimulation by EGF and was inhibited only by high concentrations of TGF-beta. Cells that were immortal, anchorage independent and tumorigenic, however, were refractory to EGF and were inhibited only by high concentrations of TGF-beta. There was no correlation between the expression of EGF or TGF-beta cell surface receptors and the response to ligand binding. The results show that tumour progression in rat oral epithelial cells is associated with a progressive independence of growth factor control. The number and distribution of EGF and TGF-beta receptors may be useful markers in more closely defining the stages of epithelial tumour progression.[1]


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