Expression of the E-cadherin/catenin (α-, β-, and γ-) complex correlates with the macroscopic appearance of early gastric cancer

Yaw Ohene-Abuakwa, Masao Noda, Mikolash Perenyi, Noriaki Kobayashi, Kei Kashima, Takanori Hattori, Massimo Pignatelli

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44 Citations (Scopus)


E-cadherin and its associated cytoplasmic proteins, α-, β-, and γ-catenins, play an essential role in the control of epithelial differentiation. We have previously shown that loss or down-regulation of E-cadherin/catenin correlates with poor survival in advanced gastric adenocarcinoma. The aim of this study was to assess the expression of E-cadherin and catenins in early gastric cancers (EGCs). Immunohistochemical staining for E-cadherin and α-, β-, and γ-catenins was performed on 41 paraffin-embedded gastrectomy specimens of EGC using an indirect immunoperoxidase technique. The pattern of expression and cellular localization of the E-cadherin/catenin complex in tumour cells were correlated with the macroscopic appearance of the tumour according to the Japanese Endoscopic Society classification. The tumours were classified as follows: three type (protruding) and 38 type II (superficial), of which ten were type IIa (elevated), one was type IIb (flat), and 27 were type IIc (depressed). E-cadherin and α-, β-, and γ-catenins were expressed at the cell-cell junctions in normal mucosa. Forty out of 41 tumours showed abnormal expression (loss of membranous immunoreactivity and/or nuclear staining) of at least one component of the E-cadherin catenin complex. Loss of E-cadherin immunoreactivity was more frequently seen in type Iib (1/1, 100%) and type Iic (27/27, 100%) than in type I (1/3, 33%) and type Iia (1/10, 10%) (p < 0.01). Abnormal expression of E-cadherin and α-catenin was more frequently seen in diffuse-type than in intestinal type tumours (p < 0.05). Abnormal immunoreactivity of β- and γ-catenin, including nuclear localization, was observed in 34% and 7.3% of tumours, respectively, but there was no significant correlation with tumour type or endoscopic appearance. In conclusion, abnormal expression of the E-cadherin/catenin complex occurs in EGC and seems to correlate with macroscopic appearances. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Adhesion
  • Catenin
  • Cytoskeleton
  • E-cadherin
  • Early gastric adenocarcinoma
  • Immunohistochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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