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Br J Cancer. 2007 Aug 6;97(3):405-11. Epub 2007 Jul 10.

Clinical significance of midkine expression in pancreatic head carcinoma.

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Department of Surgical Oncology and Digestive Surgery, Kagoshima University, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Science, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan.


Midkine (MK) is a heparin-binding growth factor and a product of a retinoic acid-responsive gene. Midkine is overexpressed in many carcinomas and thought to play an important role in carcinogenesis. However, no studies have been focussed on the role of MK in pancreatic carcinoma. This study sought to evaluate the clinical significance of MK expression in pancreatic head carcinoma, including the relationship between immunohistochemical expression and clinicopathologic factors such as prognosis. Immunohistochemical expression of MK and CD34 was evaluated in pancreatic head carcinoma specimens from 75 patients who underwent surgical resection. Midkine was expressed in 53.3% of patients. Midkine expression was significantly correlated with venous invasion, microvessel density, and liver metastasis (P=0.0063, 0.0025, and 0.0153, respectively). The 5-year survival rate was significantly lower for patients positive for MK vs patients negative for MK (P=0.0073). Multivariate analysis revealed that MK expression was an independent prognostic factor (P=0.0033). This is the first report of an association between MK expression and pancreatic head carcinoma. Midkine may play an important role in the progression of pancreatic head carcinoma, and evaluation of MK expression is useful for predicting malignant properties of pancreatic head carcinoma.

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