Objective: This study aimed to investigate the roles of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family in oral leukoplakia (LP).
Patients and methods: The expression of four EGFR-like receptors were measured in LP tissue from 14 patients and compared with levels in oral lichen planus (OLP) from 10 patients and normal oral mucosa (NOM) from 10 healthy donors.
Results: Synchronous mRNA co-expressions of EGFR, ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4 were detected in LP lesions. Out of the receptors, only ErbB4 mRNA and protein was more highly expressed in LP compared with NOM and OLP tissues. These were strongly expressed by epithelial keratinocytes in LP lesions, as shown by immunohistochemistry.
Conclusions: The synchronous modulation of EGFR family genes and enhanced ErbB4 expression on the keratinocytes could contribute to the pathogenesis of LP.
Conflict of interest: None declared.