Primary glioblastomas with and without EGFR amplification: Relationship to genetic alterations and clinicopathological features


Concha Lopez-Gines, PhD, Facultad de Medicina y Odontología. Avda. Blasco Ibañez, 15., Valencia. Spain. Email:


Glioblastomas express a notable heterogeneity in both the histological and cell patterns with glial astrocytic differentiation. Primary glioblastoma, which is the most frequent presentation (90–95%), occurs mainly in older patients and arises de novo, without any clinical or histological evidence of a less malignant precursor lesion. EGFR amplification has been identified as a genetic hallmark of primary glioblastomas and occurs in 40–60% of cases. However, there exist primary glioblastomas without EGFR amplification/overexpression. The purpose of this study was to stabilize the association between cases with and without EGFR gene amplification with clinical and genetic parameters in 45 cases of primary glioblastomas. EGFR amplification was observed in 24 cases (53%), while in the remaining 21 cases (47%) this alteration was not displayed. And whereas EGFR was overexpressed in 79% of cases with EGFR amplification, only 33% of the cases without EGFR amplification showed overexpression. The amplification of EGFR was associated with amplifications in MDM2 and CDK4 and a higher percentage of cases with promoter methylation of INK4a. Only one case of glioblastoma with EGFR amplification presented TP53 mutation simultaneously. Seven remaining cases with TP53 mutations were glioblastomas without EGFR amplification. The INK4a, INK4b and ARF deletions were similar in the two groups. Primary glioblastomas with and without EGFR amplification did not show any significant differences in average survival. The genetic studies suggest the existence of molecular subtypes within primary glioblastoma that may, when fully defined, contribute toward the development of drugs that specifically target tumors with divergent genetic profiles.