The epidermal growth factor receptor as a prognostic marker: results of 370 patients and review of 3009 patients.
Fox SB., Smith K., Hollyer J., Greenall M., Hastrich D., Harris AL.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and estrogen receptor (ER) were assayed by ligand binding in tumors from 370 patients with primary breast carcinoma with a median follow up of 18 months. Forty seven percent (175/370) and 57% (210/370) of tumors had > 20 fmol/mg and > 10 fmol/mg of EGFR and ER respectively. There was a highly significant inverse relationship between EGFR and ER (p = 0.0032). There was also a significant association between EGFR and patient age (p = 0.0006) but not correlation between EGFR and lymph node status, tumor grade, or tumor size (p = 0.104, p = 0.198, and p = 0.085 respectively). In a univariate analysis of all patients, EGFR expression was not associated with a significant reduction in overall survival (OS). However, there was a significant decrease in relapse-free survival (RFS) and OS in node negative EGFR positive patients (p = 0.03 and p = 0.05 respectively). In a multivariate analysis (Cox proportional hazard model) of all patients, lymph node status was an independent prognostic indicator for OS and RFS (p < 0.00005) and p = 0.00005 respectively), ER status for RFS (p = 0.0006), and EGFR (in the node negative model) for RFS (p = 0.03). When all patients were stratified for EGFR and ER, there was a significant difference in RFS and OS such that EGFR positive and ER negative had the worst prognosis (p = 0.0034 and p = 0.005 respectively).