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Br J Cancer. Dec 1999; 81(8): 1392–1397.
PMCID: PMC2362972

Reduction in membranous expression of β-catenin and increased cytoplasmic E-cadherin expression predict poor survival in gastric cancer

Abstract

β-catenin, a component of the E-cadherin–catenin cell adhesion complex, also plays a separate intracellular signalling role, interacting with APC protein. Intracellular accumulation of β-catenin is common in colorectal neoplasia. β-catenin abnormalities are associated with poor survival in gastric cancer, but previous studies do not differentiate between membrane-associated and intracellular β-catenin. In this study we aimed to determine which type of expression abnormalities for E-cadherin, β-catenin and α-catenin correlate with clinico-pathological features and survival in gastric cancer. Immunoperoxidase staining of paraffin-embedded sections from 40 gastric cancers was performed for E-cadherin, α- and β-catenins using microwave unmasking and an avidin–biotin technique. Clinical data were obtained from case records and cancer registry records. Reduced membranous expression of β-catenin occurred in 10/12 (83%) diffuse and 8/28 (29%) intestinal tumours (P = 0.0014), and was associated with poor differentiation (P = 0.0015) and short survival (P = 0.032), but not with age, sex, tumour size or nodal status. Nuclear expression of β-catenin was uncommon; cytoplasmic expression was observed in 13/40 cases (33%) but did not correlate with histology, tumour grade or survival. Reduced E-cadherin membrane expression was associated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.02). Neither E-cadherin or α-catenin expression correlated with survival. Reduced membranous expression of β-catenin predicts poor prognosis in gastric cancer, whilst ectopic intracellular expression is relatively rare. The apparent differences in β-catenin expression from those found in colon cancer merit further study. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign

Keywords: gastric cancer, beta-catenin and survival

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Selected References

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