Clinicopathological and prognostic significance of epithelial mesenchymal transition-related protein expression in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
Xing Yao,1,* Xiang Wang,1,* Zishu Wang,2,* Licheng Dai,1 Guolei Zhang,1 Qiang Yan,1 Weimin Zhou1
1Huzhou Central Hospital, Zhejiang Huzhou, 2Department of Medical Oncology, First Affiliated Hospital, Bengbu Medical College, Anhui, People’s Republic of China
*These authors contributed equally to this work
Background: The aim of this study was to examine the patterns of expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. The clinicopathological and prognostic value of these markers was also evaluated.
Methods: We detected the expression status of three EMT-related proteins, ie, E-cadherin, vimentin, and N-cadherin, by immunohistochemistry in consecutive intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma specimens from 96 patients.
Results: The frequency of loss of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, and acquisition of mesenchymal markers, vimentin and N-cadherin, in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma was 43.8%, 37.5% and 57.3%, respectively. Altered expression of EMT markers was associated with aggressive tumor behavior, including lymph node metastasis, undifferentiated-type histology, advanced tumor stage, venous invasion, and shorter overall survival. Moreover, loss of E-cadherin was retained as an independent prognostic factor for patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma in multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that the EMT process is associated with tumor progression and a poor outcome in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, and inhibition of EMT might offer novel promising molecular targets for the treatment of affected patients.
Keywords: intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, expression, prognosis, immunohistochemistry
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