Study of Serum Hepatocyte Growth Factor (C - Met Ligand) in Egyptian Females with Breast Cancer

  • EL-Attar HA
  • Ragab MS
  • Sheta MI
  • Ahmed AS


Background: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor c-Met play
important roles in mammary differentiation and in mammary carcinogenesis.
High levels of HGF can increase tumorigenecity, induce cell motility and
enhance invasiveness and metastasis.

Aim: The present study aims at estimation of the plasma level of HGF in
females with benign breast lumps and females with breast carcinoma and
correlating its levels with the well known prognostic parameters e.g., tumor size
,grade , number of lymph nodes involved , stage, the presence or absence of
estrogen and progesterone receptors and angiogenesis.

Subjects and Methods: The study included sixty eight adult premenopausal
females were divided into: Group1(Control group) :it consisted of fifteen
normal healthy volunteer females of comparable age and socioeconomic status
as the patients group and Group2(Patients group): it consisted of fifty -three
patients subdivided into two subgroups: Group2A (fifteen females with benign
breast lumps ) and Group2B (thirty-eight females with breast carcinoma) . To all
subjects a though clinical examination was done. Plain x-ray for the chest,
ultrasonography on the abdomen and pelvis, pre- operative fine needle aspiration
cytology for any breast lump then staging of carcinoma according to TNM
classification were also done. After an overnight fast ,5 ml blood were
withdrawn from all subjects (before surgery for breast cancer patients) and
serum was used for estimation of fasting glucose, urea ,creatinine and uric acid
levels , alanine aminotransferase activities and C-reactive protein.Also an
aliquot was kept at-20?C for serum Hepatocyte Growth Factor estimation.
Histopathological examination of the breast mass was done to confirm the
diagnosis, and correlate to level with the prognostic parameters.

Results: In the breast study Five patients with benign breast lumps (30%) had
positive family history of cancer, Four (26.6%) had history of intake of oral
contraceptive pills and three(20%) were nullipara. Nine patients (60%) had their
benign breast lumps as fibroadenoma and four patients (26.6%) had fibrocystic
disease of the breast and two (13.4%) patients had chronic non specific
inflammation. All breast cancer patients (n=38) had infiltrating ductal
carcinoma(IDC).The median value of Hepatocyte growth factor
(HGF)was311pg/ml (177-814 pg/ml) in the control group and was 554
pg/ml(279-1220) in patients with breast lumps group, while its level was
1073.5pg/ml(356- 2352 pg/ml) in whole breast cancer patients group and was
1078 pg/ml (491- 2352 pg/ml) in patients having breast cancer without lymph
node (LN) metastasis and was 1069pg/ml(356- 2244pg/ml) in patients who had
breast cancer with LN metastasis.

Conclusion : Significant increase in HGF levels were found in patients with
benign breast lumps and in breast cancer patients as serum level of HGF in
whole breast cancer patients was higher and showed significant increase when
compared with both control and benign breast lumps groups. Serum level of
HGF is a negative or an independent prognostic indicator of breast cancer.

Key words: breast lumps, growth factor, metastasis.

Author Biographies

EL-Attar HA
Chemical Pathology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University.
Ragab MS
Chemical Pathology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University.
Sheta MI
Pathology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University.
Ahmed AS
Surgery Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University.