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Am J Pathol. 1999 Dec;155(6):1803-9.

Analysis of E-cadherin in diffuse-type gastric cancer using a mutation-specific monoclonal antibody.

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Technische Universität München, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Institut für Pathologie, München, Germany.


In-frame deletions from the E-cadherin mRNA, coding for a homophilic cell adhesion molecule, are characteristic for diffuse-type gastric carcinomas. Using immunohistochemical analysis the mutant form cannot be distinguished from normal E-cadherin, making results difficult to interpret. In this study, a rat monoclonal antibody, designated E-cad delta 9-1, was generated against a peptide spanning the fusion junction region between exons 8 and 10. This new epitope is present in an E-cadherin variant that lacks exon 9 from the mRNA due to different splice-site gene mutations. Using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry of E-cadherin-transfected cells, we demonstrate that E-cad delta 9-1 specifically reacts with E-cadherin lacking exon 9 but not with the wild-type protein. No immunoreactivity was observed in 31 nontumorous and embryonal tissues analyzed. In gastric carcinoma specimens known to express mutant E-cadherin mRNA lacking exon 9, E-cad delta 9-1 targets exclusively tumor cells in routine formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded material from biopsies, primary tumors, and lymph node metastases. In a retrospective series of 172 diffuse-type gastric carcinomas expressing E-cadherin, E-cad delta 9-1 reacted with 22 tumors (13%). This new tumor marker-monoclonal antibody system could open novel avenues for selective diagnosis and specific therapy of a subgroup of diffuse-type gastric cancer patients.

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