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Ann Surg Oncol. 2007 Sep;14(9):2591-9. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Prognostic implications of netrin-1 expression and its receptors in patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.

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Department of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery, University Medical Center of Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, 20246, Hamburg, Germany.



To assess the interaction between the expression of netrin-1 or of its receptors to the prognosis of ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.


In 82 patients with resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma who underwent curative operation, the expression patterns of netrin-1, deleted in colorectal carcinomas (DCC), UNC5H3, and neogenin were determined by immunohistochemical staining. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to assess the prognostic relevance of the examined expression patterns.


Median follow-up was 15 +/- 19.9 months (range, 4-108 months). Patients suffering from tumors with no or little expression of netrin-1 (n = 67) had a median recurrence-free survival of 10 months (95% CI, 7-13 months), while a middle to strong expression (n = 15) was associated with a significantly worse median recurrence-free survival of only four months (95% CI, three to five months, p = 0.0165). Overall and recurrence-free survival showed no significant differences between the different expression patterns of DCC, UNC5H3 or neogenin. Netrin-1 expression had significant impact (p = 0.001) on overall survival of patients suffering from poorly differentiated tumors. Stratification according to the nodal status revealed significant influence (p = 0.007) of UNC5H3 expression on the overall survival of patients with pN1 status.


Expression of netrin-1 has significant impact on time to tumor relapse in adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Netrin-1 expression is associated with worse outcome in poorly differentiated pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Risk-stratification according to the UNC5H3 receptor expression pattern shows that node positive patients (pN1) with no to little UNC5H3 expression carry a significantly worse prognosis than those with middle to strong UNC5H3 expression.

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