Intestinal metaplasia (IM) is part of a stepwise sequence of alterations of the gastric mucosa, leading ultimately to gastric cancer, and is strongly associated with chronic Helicobacter pylori infection. The molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of IM remain elusive. The aim of this study was to assess the putative involvement of two intestine-specific transcription factors, CDX1 and CDX2, in the pathogenesis of gastric IM and gastric carcinoma. Eighteen foci of IM and 46 cases of gastric carcinoma were evaluated by immunohistochemistry for CDX1 and CDX2 expression. CDX1 was expressed in all foci of IM and in 41% of gastric carcinomas; CDX2 was expressed in 17/18 foci of IM and in 54% of gastric carcinomas. In gastric carcinomas, a strong association was observed between the expression of CDX1 and CDX2, as well as between the intestinal mucin MUC2 and CDX1 and CDX2. No association was observed between the expression of CDX1 and CDX2 and the histological type of gastric carcinoma. In conclusion, these results show that aberrant expression of CDX1 and CDX2 is consistently observed in IM and in a subset of gastric carcinomas. The association of CDX1 and CDX2 with expression of the intestinal mucin MUC2, both in IM and in gastric carcinoma, indirectly implies that CDX1 and CDX2 may be involved in intestinal differentiation along the gastric carcinogenesis pathway.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.