Background: Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) is a key enzyme in the degradation of DNA, RNA and high-energy phosphates. About half of the patients with breast cancer have a decrease in XOR expression. Patients with breast cancer with unfavourable prognosis are independently identified by the loss of XOR.
Aim: To assess the clinical relevance of XOR expression in gastric cancer.
Methods: XOR levels were studied by immunohistochemistry in tissue microarray specimens of 337 patients with gastric cancer and the relation between XOR expression and a series of clinicopathological variables, as well as disease-specific survival, was assessed.
Results: XOR was moderately decreased in 41% and was undetectable in another 14% of the tumours compared with the corresponding normal tissue. Decreased XOR was associated with advanced stage, deep tumour penetration, diffusely spread tumour location, positive lymph node status, large tumour size, non-curative disease, cellular aneuploidy, high S-phase fraction and high cyclooxygenase-2 expression, but not with p53 expression or Borrmann classification. Down regulation of XOR was associated with unfavourable outcome, and the cumulative 5-year gastric cancer-specific survival in patients with strong XOR expression was 47%, compared with 22% in those with moderate to negative expression (p<0.001). This was also true in patients with stage I–II (p = 0.01) and lymph node-negative (p = 0.02) disease, as well as in patients with smaller (⩽5 cm) tumours (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: XOR expression in gastric cancer may be a new marker for a more aggressive gastric cancer biology, similar to that previously reported for breast cancer.
- COX-2, cyclooxygenase-2
- SPF, S-phase fraction
- XOR, xanthine oxidoreductase
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Competing interests: None declared.
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