Serum Levels of Transforming Growth Factor a in Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients

Thomas L. Moskal, Shuang Huang, Lee M. Ellis, Herbert A. Fritsche, Subhas Chakrabarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Transforming growth factor a (TGFα), a polypeptide growth-stimulating factor, has been implicated to play a role in the progression of gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. It has been suggested that TGFα expression in tumors or TGFα in the biological fluids of cancer patients may have tumor marker value. The serum levels of TGFα in GI cancer patients have not been reported. In this study, the serum TGFα levels of 100 GI cancer patients, as well as 74 healthy individuals, were determined by a TGFα-specific RIA kit. All of the cancer patient sera and 67% of the normal sera had detectable levels of TGFα. The TGFα concentrations in Gl cancer patients ranged from 119 to 760 pg/ml, with a mean value of 269 ±102 pg/ml. Fifty normal individuals had detectable levels of TGFα, and their levels ranged from 120 to 207 pg/ml, with a mean value of 147 ± 18 pg/ml. Differences in serum TGFα concentration between cancer patients and healthy individuals were found to be statistically significant, as evaluated by Mann-Whitney and Student's t tests. Serum TGFα levels were found to be significantly elevated in all disease stages of gastric, pancreas, colon, and rectal cancers, and only in the late stages of esophageal cancer. Serum carcinoembryonic antigen levels were significantly elevated only in the late stages of these diseases. The potential of serum TGFα as a tumor marker for GI malignancy, therefore, warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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