We analyzed the epidermal growth factor receptor gene using a complementary DNA probe of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene in 21 uncultured primary breast carcinomas and found that the gene was amplified in three of these tumors. We further demonstrated by immunohistochemistry using a monoclonal antibody to the epidermal growth factor receptor that the receptor protein product of this gene was over-expressed and displayed elevated kinase activity. Our data indicate that one of the molecular mechanisms for overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor in human breast cancer is epidermal growth factor receptor gene amplification without rearrangement in a subset of tumors.

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This research was conducted, in part, by The Bessie Frisch Research Fund.

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