Up-regulation of alpha-catenin is associated with increased lymph node involvement in colorectal cancer.

Original article


Elzagheid A 1,2, Buhmeida A 3, Korkeila E 3, Collan Y 1, Syrjنnen K 3, Pyrhِnen S 3.

1-Department of Pathology, University of Turku, Kiinamyllynkatu 10, Turku FIN-20520, Finland 2-Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Arab Medical University, Benghazi, Libya 3-Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Turku University Hospital, Savitehtaankatu 1 PB 52, Turku FIN-20521, Finland

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Aug 21;14(31):4903-8.


AIM: To investigate the changing pattern of a-catenin expression and its relationship to clinical and pathological features of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.
METHODS: Archival tumor samples were analyzed using immunohistochemistry (IHC) for a-catenin in 91 patients with advanced CRC.
RESULTS: The values of a-catenin membrane index (MI) and cytoplasmic index (CI) were significantly related to the depth of tumor invasion (P = 0.027, P = 0.020, respectively), high indices being associated with increased depth of the primary tumor invasion (T3 and T4). Similarly, patients with high a-catenin expression had a significantly increased risk of lymph node metastasis (32/39 vs 37/52 for MI and 37/45 vs 32/46 for CI) (P = 0.001, P = 0.0001, respectively, for LNN status). An altered expression (i.e., cytoplasmic pattern) was also related (P = 0.047) to the response to chemotherapy; patients with low CI were more responsive (CR: 7/46) than patients with high CI values (CR: 0/45). There was a marginal effect on survival in patients time with metastases (SWM) (P = 0.087); patients with low CI showing slightly longer SWM, but no such effect on disease free survival (DFS) or disease specific survival (DSS). As to co-expression with another member of the adhesion complex (b-catenin), high a-catenin/b-catenin MI index was of marginal significance in predicting longer DSS (P = 0.063, log-rank).
CONCLUSION: The results implicate that high a-catenin expression is intimately involved in the key regulatory mechanisms leading to invasive phenotype, lymph node metastases, and progressive disease in CRC.

Keywords: Colorectal carcinoma; Alpha-catenin; Membrane staining; Cytoplasmic staining; Prognosis

Link/DOI: http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/14/4903.asp