Beta-catenin expression as a prognostic indicator in cervical adenocarcinoma

Int J Mol Med. 2001 Oct;8(4):353-8.


The purpose of this study was to assess the prognostic influence of beta-catenin expression by immunohistochemistry in patients with cervical adenocarcinomas. The study group comprised of 51 patients who underwent total hysterectomy for cervical cancer. The median follow-up was 39 months (range 1-138 months). beta-catenin was expressed strongly on the membranes of normal cervical epithelial and glandular cells. Uniform membranous beta-catenin staining localized to intercellular borders was observed in 35% of tumors, whereas 65% of tumors demonstrated an abnormal pattern of reduced or aberrant beta-catenin expression (i.e., cytoplasmic and/or nuclear staining patterns). Abnormal beta-catenin immunoreactivity was associated statistically with advanced pathologic stage (p=0.018). The 10-year disease-free survival was 51.0% in patients with preserved expression of beta-catenin. On the other hand, a poorer prognosis was noted in the group with abnormal expression of beta-catenin with a 10-year disease-free survival of 43.4%. By multivariate analysis, low pathologic stage (stages I and II, p=0.001) and preservation of beta-catenin expression (p=0.012) were independently favorable prognostic factors. Our results indicate that changes in beta-catenin expression occur during the progression of cervical adenocarcinoma to an invasive phenotype. These results suggest that beta-catenin is an important intercellular adhesion molecule. Assessment of beta-catenin immunoreactivity may be a useful prognostic tool in cervical adenocarcinoma complementary to established prognostic factors. Furthermore, we developed a strategy for choosing biomarkers representing the steps in malignant progression in an effort to identify patients with occult metastases who will need adjuvant therapy and spare women from unnecessary interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • beta Catenin


  • Biomarkers
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin