Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF), which has various physiological functions, and its receptor c-Met, the human c-met proto-oncogene product, are thought to be determinant in the pathological processes of various malignancies. To investigate the possible role of HGF/SF in the progression of development of astrocytic tumors, we examined the expression of c-Met in these tumors. Immunohistochemistry using the streptavidin-biotin peroxidase complex method and immunofluorescence double staining with anti-c-Met polyclonal and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein monoclonal antibodies were performed. Positive c-Met expression was detected in 31 of the 42 astrocytic tumors and some of the control cases analyzed. c-Met-positive cells showed morphological characteristics of astrocytes. Especially in the cases of high-grade tumors, c-Met positivity was abundant in cells in both vascular-rich and peripheral regions of the tumors but not in the cells with distinctly malignant features. Immunofluorescence double staining revealed that the c-Met-positive cells were in part of astrocytic origin. We suggest that c-Met-positive cells are affected by some factors in the lesions where the pathological processes are in a state of development. Our studies indicated that c-Met expression might take part in glioma invasion but not in the development of malignancy.
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