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Membrane preparations from 36 human non-small cell lung cancers were examined for the expression of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors, and comparisons were made between tumor types and stage. Eight normal lung membrane preparations were also examined. The concentrations of EGF receptors were assessed by ligand binding studies using 125I-radiolabeled EGF. In two point saturation experiments using 0.3 nM 125I-EGF incubated with membranes from 35 primary lung tumors, a median of 18 fmol/mg of protein (range, 1.1 to 530) was found. This was significantly greater than binding to eight lung membranes: median, 6.1 fmol/mg of protein (range, 1.0 to 14.5) (P less than 0.02). Scatchard binding curves obtained in 21 of the 36 tumors and seven of eight of the normal lung preparations showed high and low affinity sites for EGF receptors on all but two tumor membranes. The dissociation constant of the high affinity sites was similar on tumor and normal lung membranes: range, 0.75 to 30 x 10(-10) M/liter. However, the tumors had a significantly higher concentration of these receptor sites: median, 30.4 fmol/mg of protein versus a median of 6.2 fmol/mg of protein on normal lung membranes (P less than 0.01). Likewise, there were significantly more low affinity sites on tumors: median, 237 fmol/mg compared to 60.2 fmol/mg on normal lung (P less than 0.01). No differences were found in this analysis between tumors of different histological subtypes or clinical stage. It is possible that the high level of expression of high affinity sites on lung tumors could be used as a target for ligand-complexed drugs.


Journal article


Cancer Res

Publication Date





1313 - 1317


Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Epidermal Growth Factor, ErbB Receptors, Gene Amplification, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Kinetics, Lung Neoplasms