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Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Introduction: Alterations in expression and activity of human receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are associated with cancer progression and in response to therapeutic intervention.

Methods: Thus, protein abundance of 21 RTKs was assessed in 15 healthy and 18 cancerous liver samples [2 primary and 16 colorectal cancer liver metastasis (CRLM)] matched with non-tumorous (histologically normal) tissue, by a validated QconCAT-based targeted proteomic approach.

Results: It was demonstrated, for the first time, that the abundance of EGFR, INSR, VGFR3 and AXL, is lower in tumours relative to livers from healthy individuals whilst the opposite is true for IGF1R. EPHA2 was upregulated in tumour compared with histologically normal tissue surrounding it. PGFRB levels were higher in tumours relative to both histologically normal tissue surrounding tumour and tissues taken from healthy individuals. The abundances of VGFR1/2, PGFRA, KIT, CSF1R, FLT3, FGFR1/3, ERBB2, NTRK2, TIE2, RET, and MET were, however, comparable in all samples. Statistically significant, but moderate correlations were observed (Rs > 0.50, p < 0.05) for EGFR with INSR and KIT. FGFR2 correlated with PGFRA and VGFR1 with NTRK2 in healthy livers. In non-tumorous (histologically normal) tissues from cancer patients, there were correlations between TIE2 and FGFR1, EPHA2 and VGFR3, FGFR3 and PGFRA (p < 0.05). EGFR correlated with INSR, ERBB2, KIT and EGFR, and KIT with AXL and FGFR2. In tumours, CSF1R correlated with AXL, EPHA2 with PGFRA, and NTRK2 with PGFRB and AXL. Sex, liver lobe and body mass index of donors had no impact on the abundance of RTKs, although donor age showed some correlations. RET was the most abundant of these kinases in non-tumorous tissues (~35%), while PGFRB was the most abundant RTK in tumours (~47%). Several correlations were also observed between the abundance of RTKs and proteins relevant to drug pharmacokinetics (enzymes and transporters).

Discussion: DiscussionThis study quantified perturbation to the abundance of several RTKs in cancer and the value generated in this study can be used as input to systems biology models defining liver cancer metastases and biomarkers of its progression.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Frontiers in Oncology



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.