Expression of VEGF, EGF and HGF in early‑ and late‑stage colorectal cancer

  • Authors:
    • Maha-Hamadien Abdulla
    • Asma Sultana Shaik
    • Mansoor-Ali Vaali‑Mohammed
    • Khayal Abdulmalik Al Khayal
    • Thamer Bin Traiki
    • Ahmad Mohammed Zubaidi
    • Tariq Al‑Johani
    • Zahid Shakoor
    • Omar Abdullah Al-Obeed
  • View Affiliations

  • Published online on: October 8, 2021
  • Article Number: 251
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The heterogenous nature of colorectal cancer (CRC) highlights the need for a better understanding of the growth factors that affect tumour growth and cancer progression. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of epidermal growth factor (EGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in the early (I and II) and late (III and IV) stages of CRC. The serum levels and mRNA expression (n=30) of the aforementioned growth factors were measured and immunohistochemistry (n=20) was performed in patients with CRC. Histological examination revealed comparable distribution of early‑stage [I: 8 (26.7%) and II: 7 (23.3%)] and late‑stage [III: 8 (26.7%) and IV: 7 (23.3%)] CRC. The mean serum concentrations of VEGF during the early (152.9±14.5 vs. 88.39±3.99 pg/ml; P=0.001) and late (182.7±25.8 vs. 88.39±3.99 pg/ml; P=0.002) stages were significantly higher compared with those in controls. Similarly, the mean serum concentrations of EGF in the early (409.4±7.96 vs. 153.7±13.8 pg/ml; P=0.05) and HGF in the late (90.4±17.4 vs. 56.9±4.97 pg/ml; P=0.05) stages were significantly higher compared with those in controls. The serum concentrations of VEGF, EGF and HGF were comparable between the early and late stages of CRC. Compared to normal tissues, the mRNA expression of both VEGF (P<0.001) and HGF (P<0.01) was upregulated in early‑stage and downregulated in late‑stage CRC. The expression of EGF remained significantly elevated during both the early and late stages of CRC (P<0.01). Histopathological analyses confirmed increased expression of VEGF in cancerous tissues compared with that in normal tissues. The present study emphasized the need for monitoring the serum levels and tissue expression of growth factors to fully elucidate their role in patients with CRC.
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