Background/aims: Epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) is the main cell-cell adhesion molecule in all epithelia. Aberrant expression of this molecule has been implicated in tumor invasion and metastasis. We evaluated E-cadherin expression and cellular localization in colorectal cancer and investigated its relationship to histopathological features.
Methodology: The expression of E-cadherin was evaluated in 57 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of colorectal cancer by immunohistochemistry.
Results: In normal colonic mucosa, E-cadherin was expressed uniformly at the cell membrane. Abnormal E-cadherin expression and/or cellular distribution was found in 46% of tumors. There was a significant correlation between E-cadherin expression and tumor grade with a trend towards reduced E-cadherin expression as the tumor grade increased. The association between E-cadherin expression and tumor stage was not significant.
Conclusions: Abnormal E-cadherin expression in colorectal cancer correlates with loss of differentiation.