Relationship between the expression of E-, N-cadherins and beta-catenin and tumor grade in astrocytomas

J Neurooncol. 2002 May;57(3):187-92. doi: 10.1023/a:1015720220602.


Cadherins are cell-surface glycoproteins that mediate Ca2+-dependent, homophilic cell-cell adhesion. The classical cadherins, E- and N-cadherins, connect to beta-catenin, the lining protein. There appears to be a relationship between their dysfunction and tumor invasion and metastasis. The aim of our study was to examine the possibility of a relationship between alterations in the E- and N-cadherin and catenin expression and malignancy in astrocytomas. Forty-five astrocytomas (18 glioblastomas, 16 anaplastic astrocytomas, and 11 diffuse astrocytomas) were collected and stained immunohistochemically for cadherins and beta-catenin. None of the astrocytomas were immunoreactive for E-cadherin. N-cadherin and beta-catenin were present at cell-cell borders in 61% of glioblastomas and 31% of anaplastic astrocytomas. The incidence of immunoreactivity for N-cadherin and beta-catenin increased significantly with the histological grade of astrocytomas (p = 0.001, by Kruskal-Wallis test). Moreover, in anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas, the Ki-67 labeling indices in both N-cadherin-positive and beta-catenin-positive cases were higher than that in negative cases (p = 0.05 and 0.03, respectively, by Fisher's exact test). These results suggest that the expression of N-cadherin or beta-catenin may be related to the biological behavior of astrocytomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytoma / chemistry*
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cadherins / analysis*
  • Cell Division
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Trans-Activators / analysis
  • beta Catenin


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin