Epidermal growth factor receptor mRNA in peripheral blood of patients with pancreatic, lung, and colon carcinomas detected by RT-PCR.

Loren E. Clarke, Kim Leitzel, Jill Smith, Suhail M. Ali, Allan Lipton

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The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in many solid tumors. An RT-PCR assay was used to detect EGFR mRNA in the blood of 43 patients with pancreatic, lung (NSCLC), colon, and renal carcinomas. After an initial serum tube was drawn to clear the line of detached epithelial cells, a 3 ml sample of EDTA-anticoagulated blood was collected from each cancer patient and healthy control. Total RNA was isolated from each sample and from cancer cell lines. After reverse transcription using specific priming, outer and nested primers for EGFR were employed for cDNA amplification. RNA integrity was confirmed with RT-PCR amplification using beta2-microglobulin primers. PCR products were electrophoresed on agarose gels containing ethidium bromide and visualized. The assay was validated using Southern blotting and was capable of detecting a lower limit of 100 fg of total RNA from the A431 cell line. EGFR-positive cells were detected in 3/10 (30%) non-small cell lung cancer patients, 2/11 (18%) pancreatic cancer patients, and 2/16 (12.5%) colon cancer patients, but in 0/6 (0%) patients with renal carcinoma (16% of solid tumor patients overall). All 23 healthy controls were negative. This study is the first to apply RT-PCR for the detection of EGFR mRNA in the peripheral blood of patients with pancreatic and renal carcinomas, and it lends further support for the use of EGFR mRNA as a marker of CTCs in the blood of patients with certain types of solid tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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