JK Mellon, J Lunec, C Wright, CH Horne, P Kelly, DE Neal
PURPOSE: To study the c-erbB-2 oncogene in primary transitional cell bladder cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ninety-five patients with known clinical follow-up and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) status were studied for expression of c-erbB-2 by immunostaining. Possible mechanisms underlying increased staining for c-erbB-2 protein were investigated by analyzing DNA and RNA encoding c-erbB-2. RESULTS: Strong positive staining for c-erbB-2 was detected in 20 (21%) tumors, with weaker staining in a further 13 (14%). There was no correlation between increased staining for c-erbB-2 and tumor stage, grade, or EGFr status. There was a low rate of amplification of the c-erbB-2 gene (1 of 24) on Southern blotting with a higher rate of elevated c-erbB-2 mRNA (4 of 44) with dot blot hybridization. For pT1 tumors, the rate of recurrence was higher for those tumors which were positive for c-erbB-2. CONCLUSIONS: c-erbB-2 oncoprotein is expressed by a significant proportion of transitional cell tumors of the bladder. In this study, the prognostic significance of c-erbB-2 expression appears limited.