Background: In the Padova International Classification, gastric precancerous lesions are labelled as “indefinite for non-invasive neoplasia” (Indef-NiN) cytohistological alterations mimicking non-invasive neoplasia (NiN), but lacking all the attributes required for a definite NiN categorisation.
Aim: To apply a panel of immunohistochemical (IHC) markers of cell proliferation (Mib1), intestinal differentiation (Cdx2), apoptosis (pro-caspase 3) and cell immortalisation (hTERT) to compare the IHC profiles of a series of precancerous lesions arising in gastric intestinalised (ie, IM-positive) glands.
Materials and methods: By applying the histological criteria consistently provided by both the Padova Classification and the World Health Organization International Agency, 112 consecutive cases were considered: intestinal metaplasia (IM; n = 54), Indef-NiN in IM-positive gastric glands (n = 28) and low-grade (LG) NiN (n = 30). In each histological category, the expression of the marker was separately scored in superficial, proliferative and coil compartments.
Results: In all glandular compartments, Mib1, Cdx2, hTERT and pro-caspase 3 were consistently more expressed in LG-NiN than in either IM or Indef-NiN lesions (analysis of variance: p<0.001). Significant ORs (calculated by ordinal logistic regression analysis for each glandular compartment) associated IM, Indef-NiN and LG-NiN with the expression of the considered markers.
Conclusions: A consistent overexpression (unrestricted to the proliferative zone) of IHC markers of cell proliferation, intestinal differentiation, decreased apoptosis and cell immortalisation differentiates LG-NiN from both (simple) IM and Indef-NiN (arising in IM). An increased proliferative activity in the proliferative zone discriminates Indef-NiN lesions (ie, hyperproliferative IM) from IM. Such divergent IHC profiles may provide a rationale for scheduling follow-up protocols more properly tailored on the patient’s risk for cancer.
- ANOVA, analysis of variance
- IHC, immunohistochemical
- IM, intestinal metaplasia
- Indef-NiN, indefinite for non-invasive neoplasia
- LG, low grade
- NiN, non-invasive neoplasia
- NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
- PBS, phosphate-buffered saline
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Funding: This study was supported by the Oncology Institute of the Veneto Region (IOV-IRCCS), the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and the Farini Association for Gastroenterological Research.
Competing interests: None declared.