E-cadherin, an intercellular adhesion molecule, has been shown to behave like an invasion suppressor gene in vitro. This may explain the inverse relation between expression of E-cadherin and tumor grade that was found in certain cancers. We therefore examined E-cadherin expression in bladder cancer samples from patients with known clinical follow-up. Forty-nine snap-frozen specimens (24 superficial and 25 invasive tumors) and 4 samples of normal urothelium were retrospectively analyzed with anti-E-cadherin monoclonal antibodies. In normal urothelium E-cadherin is expressed homogeneously with a typical membranous staining at cell-cell borders. Decreased expression is found in 5 of 24 superficial tumors and in 19 of 25 invasive cancers. Completely negative tumors are infrequent (4 cases). Most of the time a heterogeneous staining, which may correspond to an unstable E-cadherin expression during tumor development, is seen. Decreased E-cadherin expression correlates with both increased grade and stage (x2 = 9.5, P < 0.01, and x2 = 14.9, P < 0.005, respectively). More importantly, abnormal E-cadherin expression correlates with shorter survival (tog rank test: x2 = 16.5, P < 0.001). In keeping with its in vitro invasion suppressor function, decreased E-cadherin expression correlates with the clinical aggressiveness of bladder tumors. This is the first report of E-cadherin as a marker with prognostic value. This parameter must now be tested in a large prospective study to assess its precise clinical relevance.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1993|