Altered Distribution and Expression Pattern of E-cadherin in Hepatocellular Carcinomas: Correlations with Prognosis and Clinical Features

  • Jiang, Xue-Mei (Liver Cancer Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion, Ministry of Education) ;
  • Zhang, Ju-Bo (Liver Cancer Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion, Ministry of Education) ;
  • Xiong, Ju (Liver Cancer Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University) ;
  • Huang, Xiao-Xi (Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion, Ministry of Education) ;
  • Ren, Zheng-Gang (Liver Cancer Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion, Ministry of Education)
  • Published : 2012.12.31


Objective: E-cadherin has been identified as a tumor suppressor in many types of carcinoma. However, some studies recently suggested that the role and expression of E-cadherin might be more complex and diverse. In the present study, we evaluated the prognostic value of E-cadherin expression with reference to levels in membranes and cytoplasm, and the membrane/cytoplasm ratio, in hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) after curative hepatectomy. Methods: The expression of E-cadherin was assessed by immunohistochemistry in HCC tissue microarrays from 125 patients, and its prognostic values and other clinicopathlogical data were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were followed for a median period of 43.7 months (range 1 to 126 months). Results: Univariate analysis demonstrated that a high membrane/cytoplasm (M/C) ratio of E-cadherin expression was associated with poor overall survival (OS) (P =0.001) and shorter time to recurrence (TTR) (P=0.038), as well as tumor size, intrahepatic metastasis, and TNM stage. In contrast, neither membrane nor cytoplasmic expression of E-cadherin was related with OS and TTR. Furthermore, multivariate analysis confirmed the M/C ratio to be an independent predictor of OS (P=0.031). ${\chi}^2$ tests additionally showed that the M/C ratio of E-cadherin expression was related with early stage recurrence (P=0.012), rather than later stage recurrence. Conclusion: The M/C ratio of E-cadherin expression is a strong predictor of postoperative survival and is associated with early stage recurrence in patients with HCC.


Hepatocellular carcinoma;E-cadherin;tumor suppressor


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