Absence of mutations in the kinase domain of the Met gene and frequent expression of Met and HGF/SF protein in primary gastric carcinomas
Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) and its receptor, Met, are known to play important roles in tumor cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. We analyzed the expression of these genes and the mutations in the kinase domain of the Met gene in 43 gastric carcinomas. Of the 43 cases, the Met and HGF/SF protein were expressed in 29 (67%) and 22 (51%), respectively. All of the cases with HGF/SF immunopositivity also expressed Met. Of 22 cases with HGF/SF immunopositivity, 13 (59%) expressed HGF/SF in tumor cells as well as fibroblasts. We detected no aberrant single-strand conformational polymorphism patterns, suggesting that there are no genetic alterations in the kinase domain of the Met gene. These results indicate that HGF/SF-mediated autocrine and/or paracrine stimulation and overexpression rather than structural alteration of its receptor may contribute to the development and progression of gastric carcinoma, and that expression of Met and HGF/SF may confer a growth advantage to neoplastic cells.
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