Aims: p27Kip1 (p27), a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, plays an important role as inhibiting the progression of the cell cycle. Decreased expression of p27 is associated with high histological grade and aggressiveness of several human tumours. We aimed to evaluate the role of p27 in the progression and metastasis of gastric carcinoma.
Methods and results: We analysed the expression of p27 in 67 primary gastric carcinomas and 31 lymph node metastases by immunohistochemistry. Reduced expression of p27 was found more frequently in advanced gastric cancer (40.9%) than in early gastric cancer (15.6%) (P < 0.001). Decreased p27 expression correlated with large tumour size, high histological grade, lymphatic invasion, advanced stage, deep invasion, lymph node metastasis and recurrence. The expression of p27 showed an inverse correlation with the Ki67 labelling index. There was a significant reduction of p27 expression in metastatic tumour cells in lymph nodes (mean positive cells: 3. 7%) when compared to the corresponding primary gastric carcinomas (mean positive cells: 8.1%) (P = 0.008).
Conclusions: Alterations of p27 expression may play an important role in the progression and metastasis to lymph node of tumour cells in human gastric carcinoma.