Differential expression of two fibroblast growth factor-receptor genes is associated with malignant progression in human astrocytomas

Fumio Yamaguchi, Hideyuki Saya, Janet M. Bruner, Richard S. Morrison

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Malignant astrocytomas, which are highly invasive, vascular neoplasms, compose the majority of nervous system tumors in humans. Elevated expression of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) in astrocytomas has implicated the FGF family of mitogens in the initiation and progression of astrocyte-derived tumors. In this study, we demonstrated that human astrocytomas undergo parallel changes in FGF-receptor (FGFR) expression during their progression from a benign to a malignant phenotype. FGFR type 2 (BEK) expression was abundant in normal white matter and in all low-grade astrocytomas but was not seen in malignant astrocytomas. Conversely, FGFR type 1 (FLG) expression was absent or barely detectable in normal white matter but was significantly elevated in malignant astrocytomas. Malignant astrocytomas also expressed an alternatively spliced form of FGFR-1 (FGFR-1β) containing two immunoglobulin-like disulfide loops, whereas normal human adult and fetal brains expressed a receptor form (FGFR-1α) containing three immunoglobulin- like disulfide loops. Intermediate grades of astrocytic tumors exhibited a gradual loss of FGFR-2 and a shift in expression from FGFR-1α to FGFR-1β as they progressed from benign to malignant phenotype. These results suggest that differential expression and alternative splicing of FGFRs may be critical in the malignant progression of astrocytic tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-488
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Jan 18



  • astrocytes
  • brain tumor
  • central nervous system
  • glioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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