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Localization of Hepatocyte Growth Factor and Its Receptor met in Endocrine Cells and Related Tumors of the Gut and Pancreas: An Immunohistochemical Study.
Publication types: ARTICLEPublication Status: ppublish
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a stimulator of angiogenesis and cell migration, regulates the growth of a wide variety of cells by binding to its high-affinity receptor met and is involved in the growth and aggressiveness of several tumors. In this study we investigated the expression of HGF and met in normal endocrine cells and related neoplasms of the gut and pancreas to verify their possible role in tumor pathogenesis, growth, and aggressiveness. Normal tissues and 60 different endocrine tumors were immunostained using specific antibodies directed against HGF, met, and various hormones. HGF immunoreactivity (IR) was found in antroduodenal G cells, rectal enterochromaffin (EC) cells, and pancreatic A and B cells, whereas met IR was detected in antral EC and C cells, and in pancreatic B cells; 46 of 60 tumors examined were positive for HGF, and they were mainly represented by ECL-, EC-, and L-cell neoplasms. met IR was identified in 50/60 tumors of various phenotypes. HGF and met coexpression was found in 42/60 cases, most of which were represented by EC-cell tumors. HGF/met coexpression was significantly more frequent in ileocolonic EC-cell tumors, which in the majority of cases were malignant, than in appendiceal EC-cell tumors, which were all benign. Our results demonstrated, for the first time, that HGF and met are specifically distributed in normal gut and pancreatic endocrine cells and, in addition, suggest that HGF and met may be implicated as autocrine/paracrine factors regulating the growth of gastroenteropancreatic endocrine tumors, mainly of ileocolonic EC-cell carcinoids.
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