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Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Mar;6(3):790-7.

Differential expression of E-cadherin and type IV collagenase genes predicts outcome in patients with stage I non-small cell lung carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Because routine histopathological examination of primary non-small cell lung cancer does not predict disease outcome, we correlated disease outcome with the expression level of multiple genes that regulate distinct steps of the metastatic process in 60 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, archival specimens of stage I lung carcinoma from patients undergoing curative surgery at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The expression of E-cadherin (related to cell cohesion), type IV collagenase [matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9, related to invasion], and three angiogenic molecules, basic fibroblast growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor, and interleukin 8, were examined by a colorimetric in situ mRNA hybridization technique. The expression levels of the individual genes analyzed by a Cox univariate analysis were not prognostic. In contrast, the ratio between expression of type IV collagenases (mean of the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9) and E-cadherin, the MMP:E-cadherin ratio (measured at the periphery of each tumor), was significantly higher in patients with recurrent disease than in patients who remained disease free (P = 0.00003). Longer overall survival and reduced disease recurrence rates were significantly associated with a lower MMP:E-cadherin ratio (<2) by a Kaplan-Meier survival analysis (P = 0.0002 and P = 0.0001, respectively). Multiple covariate analyses of overall and disease-free survival also concluded that the MMP:E-cadherin ratio was a significant prognostic factor when corrected for age (P = 0.0001). Determination of this gene expression ratio in individual human lung cancers might therefore be used to direct tailored treatment for individual patients with resectable lung cancer.

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