Background: Acid cysteine protease inhibitor (ACPI) is an intracellular protein, often linked to neoplastic changes in epithelium and thought to have an inhibitory role in malignant transformation.
Aim: To analyse the expression and prognostic role of ACPI in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Method: Histological samples from 199 patients with resected NSCLC were stained immunohistochemically for the expression of ACPI in normal and preneoplastic bronchial epithelium, and in various types of lung carcinomas.
Results: A normal bronchial epithelium showed positive staining for ACPI in the basal cells, whereas the upper two-thirds of the dysplastic epithelium was ACPI positive. High staining for ACPI was found in 74% (91/123) of squamous-cell carcinomas, whereas 16% (8/49) of adenocarcinomas and 30% of (8/27) large-cell carcinomas showed the high expression of ACPI (p<0.001). Among squamous-cell carcinomas, low expression of ACPI was correlated with poor tumour differentiation (p = 0.032). In the whole tissue, reduced expression of ACPI was associated with tumour recurrence (p = 0.024). In overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) analyses, the histological type of the tumour (both p<0.001) and stage of the tumour (p = 0.001, p = 0.013, respectively) were related to patient outcome. Low expression of ACPI in tumour cells was associated with poor OS and DFS (p<0.041, p = 0.004, respectively). In multivariate analysis, ACPI did not retain its prognostic value, whereas the traditional factors were the most important prognostic factors.
Conclusions: ACPI expression is linked with the malignant transformation of the bronchial epithelium and predicts a risk of tumour recurrence as well as poor rate of survival for the patients. However, ACPI does not have any independent prognostic value in NSCLC.
- ACPI, acid cysteine protease inhibitor
- OS, overall survival
- DSF, disease-free survival
- PBS, phosphate buffer solution
- NSCLC, non-small-cell lung cancer
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Published Online First 21 June 2006
Competing interests: None.