Potential role of the epidermal growth factor receptor in human pancreatic cancer

Murray Korc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


The epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is a transmembrane protein that has tyrosine kinase activity. It is activated by both EGF and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-α). Human pancreatic cancer cells overexpress the EGF receptor and exhibit a parallel increase in EGF receptor mRNA without a detectable increase in the number of gene copies coding for the receptor. These cells also produce TGF-α and are capable of binding exogenous TGF-α. They often recycle EGF, but markedly and rapidly degrade TGF-α. However, TGF-α is 10-100-fold more potent than EGF in enhancing their anchorage-independent growth. Both growth factors induce EGF receptor down-regulation, but EGF is more efficient than TGF-α in this regard. The concomitant overexpression of the EGF receptor and production of TGF-α, the recycling of EGF, and the attenuated ability of TGF-α to down-regulate the EGF receptor may combine to provide a distinct growth advantage to human pancreatic cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pancreatology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990


  • Epidermal growth factor
  • pancreatic cancer
  • transforming growth factor-alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology

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