Aims: Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is an aggressive gastrointestinal malignancy with only a few long-term survivors even after radical surgery. Patients with ampullary cancer have a better prognosis but adjuvant therapy needs further improvement. Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (Ep-CAM) is strongly expressed in a variety of epithelial cancers and represents a promising target for immunological tumour therapy. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate Ep-CAM expression and its potential prognostic impact in pancreatic and ampullary carcinomas.
Methods: Ep-CAM expression was investigated retrospectively by immunohistochemistry in paraffin-embedded primary tumour tissue samples from a series of consecutive patients with pancreatic (n = 153) and ampullary cancer (n = 34).
Results: Ep-CAM overexpression was observed in 85 of 153 pancreatic cancer specimens (56%) and in 29 of 34 ampullary cancer samples (85%). Overall, Ep-CAM failed to be an independent prognostic marker. However, subgroup analyses showed that Ep-CAM overexpression correlated with shorter overall survival among patients with ampullary cancer and advanced stage pancreatic cancer. In the latter subgroup, survival gradually worsened with increasing Ep-CAM scores. Furthermore, in ampullary cancer, Ep-CAM overexpression was found to correlate with tumour stage.
Conclusions: Ep-CAM overexpression was detectable in the majority of cases with pancreatic and ampullary cancer. Therefore, Ep-CAM represents an attractive target for immune-based therapeutic interventions in these tumour entities. However, the prognostic value of Ep-CAM overexpression remains undetermined.
- epithelial cell adhesion molecule
- pancreatic cancer
- ampullary cancer
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
Funding: This work was supported by the Tiroler Verein zur Förderung der Krebsforschung.
Competing interests: None.