J Gynecol Oncol.  2014 Jan;25(1):36-42. 10.3802/jgo.2014.25.1.36.

Correlation between the overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor and mesenchymal makers in endometrial carcinoma

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China. teng_yc@126.com


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the expression of epithelial cell markers (E-cadherin and alpha-catenin) and mesenchymal cell markers (N-cadherin and vimentin) in endometrial carcinoma.
The expression of all 4 markers was evaluated in EGFR overexpressing Ishikawa cells, control Ishikawa cells, and KLE cells using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting. The expression of these 4 markers was also determined in cancerous tissues of patients with endometrial carcinoma using immunohistochemical staining.
Ishikawa cells transfected with EGFR showed decreased expression of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin and increased expression of N-cadherin and vimentin compared with control Ishikawa cells (p<0.01 for all). The expression of N-cadherin and vimentin was higher and the expression of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin was lower in stage II-III than stage I and in grade II-III than grade I endometrial carcinoma tissue (p<0.01 for all).
Decreased expression of epithelial markers (E-cadherin and alpha-catenin) and increased expression of mesenchymal markers (N-cadherin and vimentin) were observed in human endometrial carcinoma tissue. These findings correlate with high EGFR expression in cultured endometrial carcinoma cells.


Endometrial carcinoma cells; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition

MeSH Terms

alpha Catenin
Blotting, Western
Endometrial Neoplasms*
Epidermal Growth Factor*
Epithelial Cells
Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
Polymerase Chain Reaction
Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor*
Reverse Transcription
Epidermal Growth Factor
Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor
alpha Catenin


  • Fig. 1 H&E staining of endometrial carcinoma cells. (A) Control Ishikawa cells (×200). (B) Control Ishikawa cells (×400). (C) Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-Ishikawa cells (×200). (D) EGFR-Ishikawa cells (×400).

  • Fig. 2 Expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), E-cadherin, α-catenin, N-cadherin, and vimentin mRNAs in Ishikawa cells, KLE cells, and EGFR-Ishikawa cells. Expression was determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. *p<0.01 vs. Ishikawa cells.

  • Fig. 3 Expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), E-cadherin, α-catenin, N-cadherin, and vimentin proteins in Ishikawa cells, KLE cells, and EGFR-Ishikawa cells. A representative western blot is shown (above) and image analysis of 3 separate experiments was used for quantitation (below). *p<0.01 vs. Ishikawa cells.

  • Fig. 4 Immunohistochemical staining of epithelial and mesenchymal markers in endometrial carcinoma tissues (×400). A-D are tissues from one representative patient (stage I, grade 1), and panels E-H are tissues from another representative patient (stage II, grade 3). The staining was for E-cadherin (A and E); α-catenin (B and F); N-cadherin (C and G); and vimentin (D and H).


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