Objectives: Neutral endopeptidase modulates the growth of lung cancer, while aminopeptidase N degrades the extracellular matrix and is involved in cell motility. We studied the metastasis mechanism to detect novel metastasis-associated molecules and to evaluate them for clinical application.
Methods: We studied the relationship between the expression of neutral endopeptidase and aminopeptidase N by quantitative reverse transcript-polymerase chain reaction analysis in 132 patients with non-small cell lung cancer undergoing radical surgery from 1991 to 1996.
Results: Patients with neutral endopeptidase-positive and aminopeptidase N-negative tumors were defined as group A, those with neutral endopeptidase-positive and aminopeptidase N-positive or neutral endopeptidase-negative and aminopeptidase N-negative tumors as group B, and those with neutral endopeptidase-negative and aminopeptidase N-positive tumors as group C. The 5-year survival of group A patients (92.9%) was significantly better than that of group B patients (64.7%) and much better than that of group C patients (38.2%) (P = 0.0011). Neutral endopeptidase and aminopeptidase N thus have statistically significant P in overall survival in Cox regression (P = 0.019).
Conclusion: Neutral endopeptidase and aminopeptidase N gene expressions are significant indicators of prognosis.