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CitationBMC Cancer. 2001;1:16
AbstractBACKGROUND: The E-cadherin-catenin complex plays a crucial role in epithelial cell-cell adhesion and in the maintenance of tissue architecture. Perturbation in the expression or function of this complex results in loss of intercellular adhesion, with possible consequent cell transformation and tumour progression. METHODS: We studied the alterations of E-cadherin and beta-catenin in a set of 50 primary gastric tumours by using loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis, gene mutation screening, detection of aberrant transcripts and immunohistochemistry (IHC). RESULTS: A high frequency (75%) of LOH was detected at 16q22.1 containing E-cadherin locus. Three cases (6%) showed the identical missense mutation, A592T. This mutation is not likely to contribute strongly to the carcinogenesis of gastric cancer, because a low frequency (1.6%) of this mutation was also found in 187 normal individuals. We also detected a low frequency (0.36%, 0%) of this mutation in 280 breast tumours and 444 other tumours, including colon and rectum, lung, endometrium, ovary, testis, kidney, thyroid carcinomas and sarcomas, respectively. We also analyzed the aberrant E-cadherin mRNAs in the gastric tumours and found that 7 tumours (18%) had aberrant mRNAs in addition to the normal mRNA. These aberrant mRNAs may produce abnormal E-cadherin molecules, resulting in weak cell-cell adhesion and invasive behaviour of carcinoma cells. Reduced expression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin was identified at the frequency of 42% and 28%, respectively. Specially, 11 tumours (22%) exhibited positive cytoplasmic staining for beta-catenin IHC. An association was found between reduced expression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin. Moreover, an association was detected between reduced expression of E-cadherin and diffuse histotype. CONCLUSION: Our results support the hypothesis that alterations of E-cadherin and beta-catenin play a role in the initiation and progression of gastric cancer.
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