Previous studies have shown that total epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein is highly expressed in soft tissue sarcoma (STS). We aimed to investigate the significance of phosphorylated-EGFR (pEGFR) and its activated-downstream signal transducers in STS tissue samples. A tissue microarray comprising 87 STS samples was assessed for total EGFR, pEGFR and its phosphorylated signal transducers and expression was correlated with clinicopathlogical parameters including patient outcome. Although the expression of total EGFR was significantly associated with adverse STS histologic grade (p
= 0.004) and clinical stage (p
= 0.012) similar to pEGFR, phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAkt) and phosphorylated extracellular signal regulated kinase (pERK), it is not a prognostic factor for survival. By contrast, the expression of pEGFR is an independent factor for cancer specific survival, while pERK is an independent prognostic factor for both overall and cancer specific survival in STS (p
< 0.05, Cox proportional hazard model and log-rank test) in addition to the recognised factors of tumour grade and clinical stage. pERK and pEGFR are new independent prognostic factors for overall and/or cancer specific survival in STS. The expression of EGFR/pEGFR, and their associated downstream signal transducers, was associated with STS progression, suggesting that EGFR downstream signalling pathways may jointly support STS cell survival.
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