Epidermal growth factor receptor distribution in pericoronal follicles: relationship with the origin of odontogenic cysts and tumors

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Investigate the distribution of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in pericoronal follicles as a predictor of progression to odontogenic cysts and tumors.

Study design

Immunohistochemical EGFR staining patterns (membrane-only, cytoplasm-only, or combined membrane and cytoplasmic staining) in the reduced enamel epithelium and nests of odontogenic epithelium associated with follicles of impacted molar teeth were evaluated. The staining pattern of 20 specimens of pericoronal follicle was compared with that of 16 normal oral mucosa samples and to squamous cell carcinoma samples.


Combined membrane and cytoplasmic staining was observed for normal oral mucosa mostly in proliferating layers (basal and suprabasal), decreasing in intensity toward the surface. Seven epithelial nests presented membrane-only staining, and the majority presented either a cytoplasm-only or a combined staining pattern. The staining patterns observed in reduced enamel epithelium were cytoplasm-only and combined.


EGFR membrane-only staining may be an indicator of increased potential for epithelial nests to become odontogenic cysts or tumors.

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