Background The aim of this study was to evaluate the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and to assess its prognostic significance in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
Methods We performed immunohistochemical stainings for E-cadherin, β-catenin, vimentin and fibronectin in a total of 85 cases.
Results Expression of vimentin and reduced expression of E-cadherin were found to show correlation with poor differentiation (p=0.017, p=0.010). Reduced expression of β-catenin showed significant association with poor differentiation (p=0.023), tumour size (p=0.028) and lymph node metastasis (p=0.011). According to the expression pattern of E-cadherin, β-catenin, vimentin and fibronectin we categorised four phenotypes: complete type, hybrid type, null type and wild type. The complete type of β-catenin with vimentin or fibronectin was found to show an association with lymph node metastasis (p=0.048, p=0.012). Significantly worse overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) was observed for the complete type, and the best OS and DFS were observed for the wild type.
Conclusions EMT phenotypes can be useful markers for prediction of patient outcomes.