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EGFR & HER2 are frequently elevated in colon cancer

DISCOVERIES REPORTS (ISSN 2393249X), 2014, September-December issue


SiShi L, Buchbinder E, Wu L, Bjorge JD, Fujita DJ, Zhu S. EGFR and HER2 levels are frequently elevated in colon cancer cells. Discoveries Reports 2014, Sep-Dec; 1(1): e1.  DOI: 10.15190/drep.2014.1

 Submitted: August 24th, 2013; Revised: February 2nd, 2014; Accepted: February 2nd, 2014Published: February 3rd, 2014;

 GO BACK to 2014, September-December issue


EGFR and HER2 levels are frequently elevated in colon cancer cells

SiShi Li (1), Elizabeth Buchbinder (2), Lihua Wu (1), Jeffrey D. Bjorge (3), Donald J. Fujita (3), Shudong Zhu (1,*) 

(1) School of Life Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Central South University, Changsha, China;
(2) Department of of Hematology and Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MA, USA;
(3) Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, Canada;

*Correspondence toShudong Zhu, Ph.D, School of Life Sciences, Central South University,  172 TongZiPo Rd, Changsha, China. Phone: 731 8265 0460; E-mail: shudongzhu@csu.edu.cn


OBJECTIVE: Correlation between EGFR/HER2 protein levels and colon cancer prognosis has been suggested. However, reports on the prevalence of EGFR/HER2 overexpression have been divergent and inconclusive due to technical variations. The uncertainty of the prevalence greatly affects decisions on therapeutic interventions targeting both molecules. We aim at evaluating the prevalence and significance of EGFR/HER2 overexpression in colon cancer cell lines.

METHODS: We employed normal colon epithelial cell strain FHC and examined EGFR and HER2 levels in a series of colon carcinoma cell lines using Western blotting, and evaluated the effectiveness of siRNA targeting expression of the genes to inhibit the oncogenic properties of colon cancer cells.

RESULTS: We found that (1) as compared with normal colon epithelial cells, EGFR levels and HER2 levels were significantly increased in 7 of the 8 colon cancer cell lines examined (2) siRNA targeting EGFR or HER2 reduced colony formation in soft agar of SW480 colon cancer cells, and combined treatment further reduced the colony formation ability. 

CONCLUSION: These results suggested that EGFR and/or HER2 elevation play an important role in the development of the majority of colon cancers, and targeting EGFR and/or HER2 could serve as an effective common strategy for therapeutic intervention or prevention of colon cancer.


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