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Immunohistochemical evaluation of E-cadherin adhesion molecule expression in human gastric cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery II, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


E-cadherin (ECD) is one of subclasses of the cadherin family which plays a major role in the maintenance of intercellular adhesion in epithelial tissues. An immunohistochemical study of ECD expression was performed on gastric adenocarcinoma from 103 patients using our monoclonal antibody for human ECD (HECD-1). ECD was strongly expressed in normal gastric epithelium without exception; however, various staining patterns were observed in cancer tissues. The frequency of tumours with preserved ECD expression (Pre-type) and reduced ECD expression (Rd-type) was 42% and 58% respectively. Tumours with a high frequency of Rd-type expression particularly included: undifferentiated tumours (85%, 46/54), Borrmann's type 4 (90%, 9/10), tumours larger than 2.6 cm in diameter (65%, 53/81), tumours invading beyond the subserosa layer (78%, 46/59), and tumours with infiltrative growth (87%, 41/47). Furthermore, the frequency of Rd-type expression in cases with peritoneal dissemination (82%, 9/11) or lymph node metastasis (73%, 43/59) was significantly higher than that in cases without dissemination or metastasis. These results suggest that ECD might play a key role in the genesis of histological differentiation, and that the reduction of ECD expression may affect the mode of invasion and metastasis of human gastric cancer cells.

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