Participation of HGF and Met in malignant behavior in a variety of tumours suggested the potential utilization of HGF and/or Met receptor expression for prognosis of patients with cancer. Several studies have shown that HGF and Met are important prognostic indicators in various tumours. Table 4 summarizes data showing that HGF and the Met receptor are potential indicators for prognosis of cancer patients. Yamashita et al (244) extensively analyzed relationships between HGF protein levels in tumour tissues and clinicopathological characteristics in patients with breast cancer. Higher HGF levels in breast tumour tissues correlated well with disease relapse and reduced overall survival, indicating that tissue HGF level is useful prognostic marker in breast cancer patients. Similar findings were noted by other workers (245, 246). Likewise, HGF levels in tissues of non-small cell lung carcinoma (250), gastric cancer (192), and endometrial carcinoma (190), were associated with poor outcome of these diseases. Thus, HGF level is a useful indicator for risk of relapse and short survival time for patients with these cancers. In addition to tissue HGF levels, serum HGF levels were significantly higher in patients with breast cancer (247, 248), gastric cancer (249), and lung cancer (251). Since HGF protein levels in tissues and sera can be readily determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Institute of Immunology, Tokyo, Japan), HGF levels in tumour tissues and sera are useful indicator for prognosis of patients with these cancers.
On the other hand, over-expression of the Met receptor was noted in a wide variety of cancer tissues (Table 3), and importantly, expression levels of the Met receptor were higher in more advanced malignant cases in many types of carcinomas (Table 4). Comparative analysis between Met receptor expression and clinicopathological features in cancer patients indicated that higher levels of Met receptor expression are an useful indicator for relapse and a poor prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (200), endometrial carcinoma (190), breast cancer (245), pulmonary adenocarcinoma (170), and thyroid cancer (212). Therefore, expressions of HGF
and/or Met receptor in tissues and serum HGF levels are expected to become prognostic markers in several types of cancers.
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