Published in Cancer Detection and Prevention 1998; 22(2):139-146.

Prognostic Significance of c-erbB-2 Gene Expression in the Poorly Differentiated Type of Adenocarcinoma of the Stomach

Yutaka Yonemuraa, Itasu Ninomiyaa, Kouichirou Tsugawaa, Sachio Fushidaa, Takashi Fujimuraa, Itsuo Miyazakia, Tadao Uchibayashib, Yoshio Endouc, and Takuma Sasakc

Departments of aSurgery II and bUrology, School of Medicine, Kanazawa University, and cDepartment of Experimental Therapeutics, Cancer Research Institute, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa City, Japan

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Yutaka Yonemura, Surgery II, School of Medicine, Kanazawa University, Takara-machi 13-1, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Ken. Japan.

ABSTRACT: Prognostic significance of c-erbB-2 gene abnormalities is unclear in the poorly differentiated type of gastric carcinoma, because the abnormalities of this gene have been reported to be restricted to the differentiated type of gastric carcinoma. In this study, correlation of c-erbB-2 gene amplification/overexpression of mRNA and protein were studied in the poorly differentiated type of gastric carcinoma. c-erbB-2 gene amplification determined by the slot-blot hybridization was observed in 11 (13%) of 82 gastric cancer, and 8 of 11 tumors were poorly differentiated. In addition, c-erbB-2 mRNA expression was studied by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Four (17%) of 24 tumors showed overexpression of c-erbB-2 mRNA, and all these four exhibited morphologically a poorly differentiated type. Among 157 poorly differentiated gastric cancers, 20 (13%) tumors showed immunohistochemically c-erbB-2 protein expression. These tumors had significantly higher incidences of larger tumor, serosal invasion-positive tumors, node-positive tumor, or peritoneal dissemination-positive tumor than those without c-erbB-2 expression. Furthermore, patients with c-erbB-2 protein expression ran poorer prognoses than those without c-erbB-2 protein. From these results, we conclude that c-erbB-2 tissue status may be a good prognostic indicator in poorly differentiated gastric carcinoma.

KEY WORDS: erbB-2, gastric cancer, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.