Objective. The goal of this work was to study the expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and c-erbB-3 and c-erbB-4 oncogenes in gestational trophoblastic diseases and normal first-trimester placenta. Study design. Paraffin sections of 16 cases of partial mole, 25 cases of complete mole, 10 cases of gestational choriocarcinoma, and 11 cases of therapeutic abortion were studied immunohistochemically for EGFR, c-erbB-3, and c-erbB-4 proteins. The presence of EGFR mRNA was studied using in situ hybridization. Results. Staining for EGFR was detected immunohistochemically in all cell types in gestational trophoblastic diseases and normal placenta. In situ hybridization for EGFR mRNA correlated with immunostaining for EGFR in all tissues studied. All 10 cases of choriocarcinoma exhibited strong immunoreactivity for EGFR. The levels of expression of EGFR in choriocarcinoma and syncytiotrophoblasts and cytotrophoblasts in complete mole were significantly greater than those in syncytiotrophoblasts and cytotrophoblasts in both normal placenta and partial mole (P < 0.01, P < 0.01). Expression of c-erbB-3 did not significantly differ among placental and gestational trophoblastic disease tissues and trophoblastic cell types except for significantly increased expression in choriocarcinoma as compared with cytotrophoblasts of partial mole (P = 0.02). The placenta, complete and partial mole, and choriocarcinoma tissues demonstrated similar immunoreactivity for c-erbB-4: Strong immunostaining for EGFR (P = 0.02) and c-erbB-3 (P < 0.01) in extravillous trophoblasts of complete mole was found to be significantly correlated with the development of persistent postmolar gestational trophoblastic tumor. Conclusion. The EGFR-related family of oncogenes may be important in the pathogenesis of gestational trophoblastic diseases. The increased expression of EGFR and c-erbB-3 in complete mole may also influence the development of persistent gestational trophoblastic tumor. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
- Epidermal growth factor receptor
- Hydatidiform mole
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology