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PubMed | University of Sassari, AOU Sassari Sassari, University of SassariSassari and A Businco Oncologic Hospital
Type: Journal Article | Journal: American journal of cancer research | Year: 2016

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is associated with progression of many epithelial malignancies and represents a significant therapeutic target. Although clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC) has been widely investigated for EGFR molecular alterations, genetic evidences of EGFR gene activating mutations and/or gene amplification have been rarely confirmed in the literature. Therefore, until now EGFR-targeted therapies in clinical trials have been demonstrated unsuccessful. New evidence has been given about the interactions between EGFR and the sodium glucose co-transporter-1 (SGLT1) in maintaining the glucose basal intracellular level to favour cancer cell growth and survival; thus a new functional role may be attributed to EGFR, regardless of its kinase activity. To define the role of EGFR in CCRCC an extensive investigation of genetic changes and functional kinase activities was performed in a series of tumors by analyzing the EGFR mutational status and expression profile, together with the protein expression of downstream signaling pathways members. Furthermore, we investigated the co-expression of EGFR and SGLT1 proteins and their relationships with clinic-pathological features in CCRCC. EGFR protein expression was identified in 98.4% of CCRCC. Furthermore, it was described for the first time that SGLT1 is overexpressed in CCRCC (80.9%), and that co-expression with EGFR is appreciable in 79.4% of the tumours. Moreover, the activation of downstream EGFR pathways was found in about 79.4% of SGLT1-positive CCRCCs. The mutational status analysis of EGFR failed to demonstrate mutations on exons 18 to 24 and the presence of EGFR-variantIII (EGFRvIII) in all CCRCCs analyzed. FISH analysis revealed absence of EGFR amplification, and high polysomy of chromosome 7. Finally, the EGFR gene expression profile showed gene overexpression in 38.2% of CCRCCs. Our study contributes to define the complexity of EGFR role in CCRCC, identifying its bivalent kinase-dependent and kinase-independent functions, both potentially involved in CCRCC progression. These results might have important implications on therapeutic approaches to CCRCC, since the disruption of the interaction between EGFR/SGLT1, mediated by anti-EGFR antibodies and/or SGLT1 inhibitors, might constitute a novel therapeutic target for CCRCC treatment, and new clinical trials should be evaluated on the basis of this therapeutic proposal.

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