Tumour-associated upregulation of the IL-4 receptor complex.
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In a previous study we have shown that monoclonal antibody MR6, which we believe recognizes a component of the human IL-4 receptor complex, binds to a wide variety of epithelial tumours. We have now used this reagent to carry out more detailed analysis of tumours of the breast. Our immunohistochemical data indicate that approximately 30% of these tumours show elevated expression of the molecule to which MR6 binds. In addition, three samples of lymphoma were all MR6-positive. Normal breast tissue from the same patients was either negative or weakly positive. Immunoprecipitation and Western blotting analysis with MR6 show that the molecule expressed on tumour cells is indistinguishable from that on normal tissues. It has an apparent molecular weight of 200 kD, but is highly sensitive to proteolysis yielding a molecule of 145 kD. These data raise the possibility that upregulation of the IL-4 receptor complex may be involved in tumourigenesis. In addition, since only a third of tumours are MR6-positive, the antibody may have potential in differential diagnosis.
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