Epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent mechanisms have been implicated in growth signal transduction pathways that contribute to cancer development, including dermal carcinogenesis. Detection of the extracellular domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR ECD) in serum has been suggested as a potential biomarker for monitoring this effect in vivo. Arsenic is a known human carcinogen, producing skin and other malignancies in populations exposed through their drinking water. One such exposed population, which we have been studying for a number of years, is in Bangladesh. The purpose of this study was to examine the EGFR ECD as a potential biomarker of arsenic exposure and/or effect in this population. Levels of the EGFR ECD were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in the serum samples from 574 individuals with a range of arsenic exposures from drinking water in the Araihazar area of Bangladesh. In multiple regression analysis, serum EGFR ECD was found to be positively associated with three different measures of arsenic exposure (well water arsenic, urinary arsenic and a cumulative arsenic index) at statistically significant levels (p≤0.034), and this association was strongest among the individuals with arsenic-induced skin lesions (p≤0.002). When the study subjects were stratified in tertiles of serum EGFR ECD levels, the risk of skin lesions increased progressively for each increase in all three arsenic measures (also stratified in tertiles) and this increasing risk became more pronounced among subjects within the highest tertile of EGFR ECD levels. These results suggest that serum EGFR ECD levels may be a potential biomarker of effect of arsenic exposure and may indicate those exposed individuals at greatest risk for the development of arsenic-induced skin lesions.
- Biomarker of effect
- Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
- Skin lesions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis