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MUC1 (episialin) expression in non-small cell lung cancer is independent of EGFR and c-erbB-2 expression and correlates with poor survival in node positive patients.
  1. F Guddo,
  2. A Giatromanolaki,
  3. M I Koukourakis,
  4. C Reina,
  5. A M Vignola,
  6. G Chlouverakis,
  7. J Hilkens,
  8. K C Gatter,
  9. A L Harris,
  10. G Bonsignore
  1. Institute of Respiratory Pathophysiology, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Palermo, Italy.


    AIM: To examine tumour samples immunohistochemically for MUC1 (episialin), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and c-erbB-2, since the disruption of the cell-cell adhesion system by MUC1 and the c-erbB oncoprotein family is known to be important in the development of metastasis in human cancers. METHODS: 93 tumour samples from patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer treated with surgery alone were examined for episialin, EGFR, and c-erbB-2. RESULTS: Episialin depolarised expression did not correlate with any of the histopathological variables examined (T,N stage, grade, histology, Ki67 proliferation index). No correlation was observed between episialin and EGFR or c-erbB-2 expression. Survival analysis showed that episialin depolarised expression correlated with poor prognosis (p = 0.003), especially in squamous cell cases (p = 0.0003). Episialin expression defined a group of patients with poor prognosis in the node positive category (p = 0.003). In multivariate analysis episialin was the most significant independent prognostic factor (p = 0.007), followed by N stage (p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Depolarised expression of episialin is associated with poor outcome in early stage non-small cell lung cancer. Despite the similar activity on the cadherin cell-cell adhesion system, the expression of episialin and c-erbB oncoproteins is likely to be activated within different pathogenic pathways.

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