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Overexpression and mutation of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) have been shown to be important in the prognosis of several cancers, including head and neck cancers. However, our inability to define the activation status of these and other receptors limits our ability to assess the importance of these pathways and to exploit effectively new molecularly targeted treatments directed at their catalytic activities. Here we describe the use of automated, high-throughput fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy to measure EGFR autophosphorylation status by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) in head and neck tumors. We have correlated FRET efficiency with the clinical and survival data. The results from head and neck arrays show that high FRET efficiency is correlated with worsening disease-free survival but not with overall survival. This powerful tool could be exploited as a new independent quantitative prognostic factor in clinical decisions and cancer management.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Res

Publication Date





2834 - 2843


Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Disease-Free Survival, ErbB Receptors, Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer, Head and Neck Neoplasms, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Neoplasm Staging, Phosphorylation, Prognosis, Tissue Array Analysis