Mucin expression in gastric- and gastro-oesophageal signet-ring cell cancer: results from a comprehensive literature review and a large cohort study of Caucasian and Asian gastric cancer
SourceGastric Cancer, 23, 5, (2020), pp. 765-779
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 14: Tumours of the digestive tract RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
BACKGROUND: The literature on the prognostic relevance of signet-ring cell (SRC) histology in gastric cancer (GC) is controversial which is most likely related to inconsistent SRC classification based on haematoxylin-eosin staining. We hypothesised that mucin stains can consistently identify SRC-GC and predict GC patient outcome. METHODS: We performed a comprehensive literature review on mucin stains in SRC-GC and characterised the mucin expression in 851 Caucasian GC and 410 Asian GC using Alcian Blue (AB)-Periodic Acid-Schiff (PAS), MUC2 (intestinal-type mucin), and MUC5AC (gastric-type mucin). The relationship between mucin expression and histological phenotype [poorly cohesive (PC) including proportion of SRCs, non-poorly cohesive (non-PC), or mucinous (MC)], clinicopathological variables, and patient outcome was analysed. RESULTS: Depending on mucin expression and cut-offs, the positivity rates of SRC-GC reported in the literature varied from 6 to 100%. Patients with MUC2 positive SRC-GC or SRC-GC with (gastro)intestinal phenotype had poorest outcome. In our cohort study, PC with ≥ 10% SRCs expressed more frequently MUC2, MUC5AC, and ABPAS (p < 0.001, p = 0.004 and p < 0.001, respectively). Caucasians with AB positive GC or combined ABPAS-MUC2 positive and MUC5AC negative had poorest outcome (all p = 0.002). This association was not seen in Asian patients. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to suggest that mucin stains do not help to differentiate between SRC-GC and non-SRC-GC. However, mucin stains appear to be able to identify GC patients with different outcome. To our surprise, the relationship between outcome and mucin expression seems to differ between Caucasian and Asian GC patients which warrants further investigations.
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