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Expression of keratinocyte growth factor and its receptor in human breast cancer.

British Journal of Cancer
Nature Publishing Group
Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


The level of expression of keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) mRNA has been measured in human breast cell lines, purified populations of epithelial cells, myoepithelial cells and fibroblasts from reduction mammoplasty tissue and a panel of 42 breast cancers and 30 non-malignant human breast tissues using a semiquantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) procedure. We found similar levels of KGF mRNA in malignant and non-malignant breast tissues. The study of the amount of KGF mRNA in breast cell lines and purified populations of cells revealed that fibroblasts are the predominant source of KGF with malignant and non-malignant epithelial cells containing very low levels of KGF mRNA. We have examined the distribution of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)-2-IIIb, which is a high-affinity receptor for KGF and find that it is present on malignant and non-malignant epithelial cells. The level of FGFR-2-IIIb present on breast cancer cell lines was sufficient for KGF stimulation of breast cancer cell proliferation. Other members of the fibroblast growth factor family have been either not expressed in the human breast (FGF3, FGF4) or have been found at much reduced levels in breast cancer (FGF1, FGF2) and this is the first member of the family to potentially influence the progression of breast cancer through stimulation of cell division. Images Figure 1 Figure 3 Figure 4

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