A significant proportion of human malignant gliomas exhibit amplification, overexpression, or mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). To define the functional role(s) of the EGFR in the pathogenesis of gliomas, we established transgenic mice that express both wild-type (wt) and mutant (EGFRvIII) EGFR molecules using the human glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter. Both GFAP-EGFRwt and GFAP-EGFRvIII transgenic mice demonstrated increased numbers of astrocytes compared with control littermates, however, developed normally without formation of gliomas. To determine whether EGFR overexpression could modify the tumor phenotype in our previously reported GFAP-V12Ha-ras transgenic mouse astrocytoma model, mice expressing both activated RAS and EGFR were developed. GFAP-V12Ha-ras;GFAP-EGFRvIII, but not GFAP-V12Ha-ras;GFAP-EGFRwt double transgenic mice, had decreased survival with fifty percent of the mice dead at 2-4 weeks from gliomas, compared with 12-16 weeks for the GFAP-V12Ha-ras mice. Furthermore, GFAP-V12Ha-ras;GFAP-EGFRvIII mice developed oligodendrogliomas and mixed oligoastrocytoma tumors, instead of the fibrillary astrocytomas observed in GFAP-V12Ha-ras mice. In addition to yielding a spontaneous model of infiltrating oligodendroglioma, this study demonstrates that astrocyte-specific expression of EGFRvIII alone is insufficient for gliomagenesis but rather contributes to glioma progression in the context of existing predisposing genetic changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1113
Number of pages8
JournalCancer research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


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