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Hum Pathol. 2010 Nov;41(11):1558-65. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2009.12.016.

Cell adhesion molecules P-cadherin and CD24 are markers for carcinoma and dysplasia in the biliary tract.

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Department of Pathology, University Hospital Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


P-cadherin (CDH3) and CD24 are cell adhesion molecules that control morphogenic processes, cell motility, and invasive growth of tumor cells. The aim of our study was to investigate P-cadherin and CD24 expression in carcinomas and dysplastic lesions of the biliary tract and to evaluate the potential diagnostic usefulness of these cell adhesion molecules. Using immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays, we analyzed P-cadherin, CD24, and p53 expression in 117 carcinomas of the biliary tract (19 intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, 59 extrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, and 39 gallbladder carcinomas) and correlated our findings with clinicopathologic parameters. We found P-cadherin positivity in 37% of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, 73% of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, and 64% of gallbladder carcinomas, respectively. CD24 reactivity was observed in 21% of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, 58% of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, and 42% of gallbladder carcinomas. Nuclear p53 expression was found in 37% of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, 46% of extrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, and 45% of gallbladder carcinomas. We also studied P-cadherin, CD24, and p53 expression in normal (n = 30), inflamed (n = 22), and dysplastic (n = 21) biliary epithelium of extrahepatic bile ducts. Dysplastic biliary epithelium was positive for P-cadherin in 91%, for CD24 in 71%, and for p53 in 24% of lesions, respectively. In contrast, normal and inflamed epithelia were negative for all 3 proteins. We conclude that P-cadherin and CD24 are expressed in carcinomas of the biliary tract with high frequency and at an early stage of carcinogenesis. Therefore, they may be useful markers for early detection and as targets for therapy of cholangiocarcinoma.

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