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Pathobiology. 2014;81(3):138-48. doi: 10.1159/000357821. Epub 2014 Mar 8.

Identification of novel transmembrane proteins in scirrhous-type gastric cancer by the Escherichia coli ampicillin secretion trap (CAST) method: TM9SF3 participates in tumor invasion and serves as a prognostic factor.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, Hiroshima University Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima, Japan.



Scirrhous-type gastric cancer (GC) is highly aggressive and has a poor prognosis due to rapid cancer cell infiltration accompanied by extensive stromal fibrosis. The aim of this study is to identify genes that encode transmembrane proteins frequently expressed in scirrhous-type GC.


We compared Escherichia coli ampicillin secretion trap (CAST) libraries from 2 human scirrhous-type GC tissues with a normal stomach CAST library. By sequencing 2,880 colonies from scirrhous CAST libraries, we identified a list of candidate genes.


We focused on the TM9SF3 gene because it has the highest clone count, and immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated that 46 (50%) of 91 GC cases were positive for TM9SF3, which was observed frequently in scirrhous-type GC. TM9SF3 expression showed a significant correlation with the depth of invasion, tumor stage and undifferentiated GC. There was a strong correlation between TM9SF3 expression and poor patient outcome, which was validated in two separate cohorts by immunostaining and quantitative RT-PCR, respectively. Transient knockdown of the TM9SF3 gene by siRNA showed decreased tumor cell-invasive capacity.


Our results indicate that TM9SF3 might be a potential diagnostic and therapeutic target for scirrhous-type GC.

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