Prognostic value of the preserved expression of the E-cadherin and catenin families of adhesion molecules and of beta-catenin mutations in synovial sarcoma

J Pathol. 2000 Nov;192(3):342-50. doi: 10.1002/1096-9896(2000)9999:9999<::AID-PATH705>3.0.CO;2-R.


This study addresses the immunohistochemical expression of the E-cadherin and catenin families and mutations of the beta-catenin gene detected by PCR-SSCP in synovial sarcoma. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed for 72 cases, with follow-up data available on 62. The prognostic value of the expression of these proteins was evaluated. Reduced immunoreactivity for E-cadherin and alpha-catenin was significantly correlated with a poor survival rate (p=0.0040 and 0.0053, respectively). According to multivariate analysis, low AJC stage (stages I and II: p<0.0001), the preservation of alpha-catenin expression (p=0.0001), and a low necrotic rate (<50%: p=0.0139) were independent favourable prognostic factors. Widespread aberrant staining of beta-catenin protein within cytoplasm and/or nuclei was observed in 28 cases (38.9%) and was significantly correlated with poor survival (p=0.0122). In addition, there was a trend towards a correlation between widespread aberrant staining of beta-catenin and the MIB-1 labelling index (p=0.0535). Mutational analysis of exon 3 of the beta-catenin gene was performed for 49 cases. Nucleotide sequencing analysis revealed that four (8.2%) contained point mutations (three in codon 32, GAC to TAC; one in codon 37, TCT to TTT). Survival data were available for three out of four cases with beta-catenin mutations; two of these patients died within 1 year (died of disease at 6 and 11 months, respectively). These results suggest that E-cadherin and alpha-catenin undertake important roles as intercellular adhesion molecules; their preserved expression is associated with a better overall survival rate in synovial sarcoma and may have prognostic value. Abnormal levels of beta-catenin, with or without mutation, could contribute to the development and progression of synovial sarcoma, through increasing the proliferative activity of the tumour cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitotic Index
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Point Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / metabolism*
  • Sarcoma, Synovial / pathology
  • Sex Factors


  • Cadherins
  • Carrier Proteins