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Mod Pathol. 2007 Feb;20(2):267-76.

Expression of GalNAc-T3 and its relationships with clinicopathological factors in 61 extrahepatic bile duct carcinomas analyzed using stepwise sections - special reference to its association with lymph node metastases-.

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  • 1Department of Anatomic Pathology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


Extrahepatic bile duct carcinomas (EBDCs) still result in an unfavorable prognostic outcome, and little is known about their biological aggressiveness. Recently, UDP-N-acetyl-alpha-D-galactosamine:polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyl transferase-3 (GalNAc-T3) was reported to be associated with differentiation and malignant potential of human carcinomas. Here, we investigated 61 EBDCs for their detailed clinicopathological features and GalNAc-T3 expression by immunohistochemistry, and then evaluated the relationships between the clinicopathological features and GalNAc-T3 expression patterns. Most of the EBDCs were massively invasive tumors with frequent vascular or perineural invasion and lymph node metastases. GalNAc-T3 expression was detected in all 61 EBDCs, and the expression patterns could be classified into granular and diffuse types. All four noninvasive or minimally invasive EBDCs were the granular type. Among the 58 minimally or massively invasive EBDCs, the GalNAc-T3 expression pattern at the luminal surface was the granular type in 38 cases (66%) and diffuse type in 20 cases (34%), while the expression pattern at the invasive front was the granular type in 26 cases (45%) and diffuse type in 32 cases (55%). Among the 38 cases with granular-type expression at the luminal surface, 26 cases (68%) remained the granular type and 12 cases (32%) became the diffuse type at the invasive front. All 20 cases with diffuse-type expression at the luminal surface remained the diffuse type at the invasive front. Diffuse-type GalNAc-T3 expression at the invasive front was significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (P<0.05). There were no significant correlations between the GalNAc-T3 expression patterns and other clinicopathological factors, including tumor differentiation, depth of invasion or overall survival. In conclusion, EBDCs alter their GalNAc-T3 expression pattern during tumor growth, and the difference in the GalNAc-T3 expression pattern may be associated with lymph node metastasis. Clinically, preoperative evaluation of GalNAc-T3 expression is considered to be useful for decisions regarding operative procedures.

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