Characterization of keratinocyte growth factor and receptor expression in human pancreatic cancer

Toshiyuki Ishiwata, Helmut Friess, Markus W. Büchler, Martha E. Lopez, Murray Korc

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Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) is an angiogenic and mitogenic polypeptide that has been implicated in cancer growth and tissue development and repair. Its actions are dependent on its binding to a specific cell- surface KGF receptor (KGFR), which is encoded by the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor type II (FGFR-2) gene. In the present study, we compared the immunohistochemical localization of KGF and KGFR/FGFR-2 in the normal and cancerous pancreas using specific antibodies that recognize KGF and KGFR/FGFR-2 and examined the expression of KGF, KGFR, and FGFR-2 in human pancreatic cancer by in situ hybridization with the corresponding riboprobes. In the normal pancreas, KGF immunoreactivity was present principally in the islet cells, whereas KGFR/FGFR-2 immunoreactivity was present both in the islet and ductal cells. In the pancreatic cancers, moderate KGF and moderate to strong KGFR/FGFR-2 immunoreactivity was present in many of the cancer cells. Furthermore, the ductal and acinar cells adjacent to the cancer cells exhibited moderate to strong KGF and KGFR/FGFR-2 immunoreactivtty. By in situ hybridization, KGF, KGFR, and FGFR-2 were overexpressed and co-localized in the cancer cells within the pancreatic tumor mass but were even more abundant in the acinar and ductal cells adjacent to the cancer cells. These findings indicate that KGF, KGFR, and FGFR-2 are overexpressed in both the cancer cells and the adjacent pancreatic parenchyma and raise the possibility that KGF may act in an autocrine and paracrine manner to enhance pancreatic cancer cell growth in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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