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Cancer Res. 2003 May 15;63(10):2569-77.

Distinctive patterns of gene expression in premalignant gastric mucosa and gastric cancer.

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Trescowthick Research Laboratories, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, 8006, Australia.


Current epidemiological evidence supports a pathogenetic model of gastric cancer involving intermediate stages that include chronic gastritis and intestinal metaplasia. This study explores the molecular features of gastric cancer and premalignant stages using DNA microarray-based gene expression profiling and relates these findings to clinical, pathological, and ethnic parameters. A total of 124 tumor and adjacent mucosa samples were analyzed using spotted cDNA microarrays containing 9381 nonredundant gene elements. Tumor specimens were diffuse, intestinal, or mixed gastric cancer and adjacent mucosa, which generally displayed signs of chronic gastritis or intestinal metaplasia. Expression patterns could be discerned that readily defined premalignant and tumor subtypes. Chronic gastritis exhibits a pronounced mitochondrial gene expression signature, which may be linked to Helicobacter pylori pathogenesis. Intestinal metaplasia was associated with increased expression of many intestinal differentiation genes, many of which were not overexpressed in tumors. Samples were obtained from 91 Australian and 33 Chinese patients to explore potential variation in gene expression between these populations. Despite differences in the incidence, and potentially the etiology, of gastric cancer between these ethnic groups, we found the tumors to be molecularly similar. The identification of molecular signatures that are characteristic of subtypes of gastric cancer and associated premalignant changes should enable further analysis of the steps involved in the initiation and progression of this disease.

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