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J Pathol. 2000 Mar;190(4):437-43.

Gastric carcinoma exhibits distinct types of cell differentiation: an immunohistochemical study of trefoil peptides (TFF1 and TFF2) and mucins (MUC1, MUC2, MUC5AC, and MUC6).

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Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto (IPATIMUP), Rua Roberto Frias s/n, 4200 Porto, Portugal.


The expression of trefoil peptides (TFF1 and TFF2) and mucins (MUC1, MUC2, MUC5AC, and MUC6) has previously been described in gastric polyps. In the present study, the expression profile of these trefoil peptides and mucins was characterized in 96 gastric carcinomas, in an attempt to further the understanding of the histogenesis and cell differentiation of gastric carcinoma. Taking together the co-expression of trefoil peptides and mucins, three phenotypes were defined: complete gastric, incomplete gastric, and non-gastric phenotype. Gastric differentiation (complete and incomplete) was observed in 30 out of 33 (90.9%) diffuse carcinomas and in 38 out of 53 (71.7%) intestinal carcinomas. Non-gastric differentiation was observed in only three (9.1%) diffuse carcinomas and in 15 (28.3%) intestinal carcinomas. The phenotypes observed in intestinal carcinomas were similar to those previously observed in adenomatous polyps, whereas most diffuse carcinomas mimicked the phenotype of hyperplastic polyps. The percentage of cases displaying a non-gastric phenotype was higher, though not significantly, in tumours that had invaded the gastric wall than in T1 tumours, regardless of histotype. It is concluded that gastric-type differentiation is retained in the majority of gastric carcinomas, being more prominent in diffuse than in intestinal carcinomas, and in early than in advanced carcinomas.

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