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Korean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 2000;43(4):625-634.
Published online January 1, 2001.
Expression of E-cadherin and alpha - , beta - , gamma - catenin proteins in endometrial carcinoma.
Eun Kyoung Choi, Young Tae Kim, Woo Ick Yang, Jae Wook Kim
E-cadherin is a transmembrane protein that is one of the key players involved in cell to cell adhesion. Loss of E-cadherin expression is suggested to promote tumor invasion and distant metastasis in tumor development. Recently, it has been proposed E-cadherin function requires its linkage to the cytoskeleton through catenins. So defects in catenins may cause defective E-cadherin function and promote tumor invasion. We intend to evaluate the expression of E-cadherin and alpha-, beta-, gamma- catenin in tissues of human endometrial carcinoma to analyze the patterns of cell adhesion molecules' expression in endometrial carcinoma and to investigate the relationship between status of cell adhesion molecules and various clinicopathological factors. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The present study investigated the immunohistochemical expression of E-cadherin and alpha-, beta-, gamma- catenin in 33 paraffin embedded formalin fixed tissues of endometrial carcinomas. RESULTS: Aberrant E-cadherin, alpha-, beta-, gamma- catenin expression was observed in 33.3(11 of 33), 27.3(9 of 33), 18.2 (6 of 33), and 51.5(17 of 33) % of the specimens, respectively. Statistically significant correlation was found between aberrant expression of E-cadherin and lymph node metastasis and cell types other than endometrioid adenocarcinoma. Aberrant pattern of gamma- catenin expression also correlated with deep myometrial invasion. But alpha-, beta- catenin expression were not correlated with any clinicopathological parameters. Using Kaplan-Meier curves, abnormal expression of E-cadherin correlated closely with poor survival (p<0.05). CONCLUSION: We revealed aberrant expression of these cell adhesion molecules in part of patients with endometrial carcinoma. Aberrant expression of E-cadherin was correlated with lymph node metastasis and cell types other than endometrioid adenocarcinoma and aberrant expression of gamma-catenin was related with deep myometrial invasion.
Key Words: E-cadherin, alpha-cadherin, beta-cadherin, gamma-catenin, Endometrial carcinoma, Prognostic factors

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