Mutations in the beta-catenin gene (CTNNB 1) with abnormal nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin have recently been identified in endometrial carcinoma (EC). Their relationship with microsatellite instability (MI) is unclear. It has been suggested that matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) and cyclin D1 (cD) genes are targets for beta-catenin activation. DNA from 73 patients with EC was obtained from tumor and normal tissue (59 endometrioid and 14 nonendometrioid). CTNNB 1 mutations in exon 3 were assessed by single-strand conformation polymorphism and DNA sequencing. The results were correlated with immunostaining for beta-catenin, MMP-7, and cD. Three (CA)n repeats and mononucleotide tracts BAT 25 and BAT 26 had been previously used for MI analysis. CTNNB1 mutations were identified in 15 ECs (20.5%), all of them endometrioid carcinomas (15 of 59; 25.4%). They occurred in 6 of 19 MI-positive ECs (31.5%) and in 9 of 54 MI-negative ECs (16.6%). Eleven of the 15 CTNNB 1-mutated ECs showed beta-catenin nuclear immunostaining (P <.05). MMP-7 expression (>50% cells) was observed in 23 ECs, with 7 of these showing CTNNB 1 mutations. Significant expression of cD (>50% cells) was detected in 8 ECs, with 5 of these exhibiting CTNNB 1 mutations (P <.05). The results confirm that beta-catenin plays a role in endometrial carcinogenesis, particularly in endometrioid carcinomas. The results also suggest that MMP-7 and particularly cD may be targets of beta-catenin activation in ECs.
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