Background. Previous studies demonstrated that heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) contributes to carcinogenesis and carcinoma progression. In this study, we investigated its expression in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Methods. We immunohistochemically investigated the expression of HB-EGF in 40 cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Results. HB-EGF was only occasionally and faintly expressed in normal and hyperplastic pancreas duct epithelia. In pancreatic adenocarcinoma, 22 (55.0%) of the 40 cases were classified as positive for HB-EGF. Its expression was more frequently observed in cases with a low Ki-67 labeling index, well differentiated, early stage, small size, without lymph node metastasis and low EGF-R expression. Conclusion. These results suggest that HB-EGF mainly plays a role in early phase of the progression of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
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