Effects of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and an antibody (Ab-528) reactive against the binding site for EGF on human EGF receptors were studied on multicellular tumor spheroids obtained from three human glioma cell lines with high (D-37 MG), medium (D-247 MG), and low (D-263 MG) levels of EGF receptor expression. The D-247 MG and D-263 MG spheroids grew slowly or not at all in the absence of EGF, while in the presence of EGF they were growth stimulated. Tumor cell migration, as measured by the spread of cells from spheroids on a plastic substratum, was increased by the addition of EGF for all three cell lines. Stimulation of migration could be blocked by a subsequent addition of Ab-528 to the medium at a concentration of 50 Mg/ml. Invasiveness of glioma cell spheroids into fetal rat brain aggregates was related to EGF receptor expression; the two lines with medium to high receptor expression (D-247 MG and D-37 MG) were invasive, while the line with low EGF receptor expression (D-263 MG) was noninvasive, as assessed by an in vitro coculture assay. In the D-247 MG cell line, morphometry revealed EGF-enhanced invasiveness of the tumor cells. The addition of the Ab-528 to EGF-treated cocultures reduced invasion in both D-247 MG and D-37 MG cell lines. Antibody Ab-528 alone did not affect glioma cell growth or migration but did inhibit invasiveness. The present study suggests that, in brain tumors with an increased number of normal-sized Mr 170,000 EGF receptors, EGF or an EGF-like ligand such as transforming growth factor-α may selectively facilitate expansive tumor growth and tumor cell invasion. This effect may in part be blocked or retarded by specific antibodies to the EGF receptor.
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|Published - 15 Sept 1990