Loss of Fhit expression in non-small-cell lung cancer: correlation with molecular genetic abnormalities and clinicopathological features

Br J Cancer. 2000 Mar;82(6):1191-7. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.1999.1062.


The FHIT gene is located at a chromosomal site (3p14.2) which is commonly affected by translocations and deletions in human neoplasia. Although FHIT alterations at the DNA and RNA level are frequent in many types of tumours, the biological and clinical significance of these changes is not clear. In this study we aimed at correlating loss of Fhit protein expression with a large number of molecular genetic and clinical parameters in a well-characterized cohort of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). Paraffin sections of 99 non-small-cell carcinomas were reacted with an anti-Fhit polyclonal antibody in a standard immunohistochemical reaction. Abnormal cases were characterized by complete loss of cytoplasmic Fhit staining. The Fhit staining results were then correlated with previously obtained clinical and molecular data. Fifty-two of 99 tumours lacked cytoplasmic Fhit staining, with preserved reactivity in adjacent normal cells. Lack of Fhit staining correlated with: loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the FHIT 3p14.2 locus, but not at other loci on 3p; squamous histology; LOH at 17p13 and 5q but not with LOH at multiple other suspected tumour suppressor gene loci; and was inversely correlated with codon 12 mutations in K-ras. Fhit expression was not correlated overall with a variety of clinical parameters including survival and was not associated with abnormalities of immunohistochemical expression of p53, RB, and p16. All of these findings are consistent with loss of Fhit protein expression being as frequent an abnormality in lung cancer pathogenesis as are p53 and p16 protein abnormalities and that such loss occurs independently of the commitment to the metastatic state and of most other molecular abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / physiopathology
  • Chromosome Fragility*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Loss of Heterozygosity / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins*
  • Prognosis
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proteins
  • fragile histidine triad protein
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases