Background & objective: Abnormality of FHIT gene has been proved to be frequent in certain malignant tumors closely related to environmental oncogenic factors, such as lung cancer. Foreign scholars have begun to explore the relationship between FHIT gene and other tumor suppressor genes, which are implicated in the pathogenesis of lung cancer. This study was designed to investigate the relationship between hMSH(2) and FHIT protein expression and to explore the correlation of hMSH(2) and FHIT protein expression with clinicopathologic features of lung cancer.
Methods: Immunohistochemical analysis of hMSH(2) and FHIT protein expression in 40 lung cancer cases and 15 adjacent non-cancer lung tissues was performed; the positive rates of FHIT and hMSH(2) proteins were measured by image analysis system.
Results: (1)The positive rates of FHIT and hMSH(2) proteins were 58.2% and 45.8% respectively in lung cancer tissues compared with 89.1% and 65.3% in non-cancer lung tissues. The expression levels of FHIT and hMSH(2) proteins were significantly lower in lung cancer tissues than that in non-cancer lung tissues (P< 0.01). (2)Reduced expression levels of both proteins were significantly related to tumor histology. The positive rate of the FHIT protein was 52.2% in squamous cell carcinoma compared with 63.4% in adenocarcinomas(P< 0.01), whereas the positive rate of the hMSH(2) protein was 35.6% in adenocarcinomas compared with 53.2% in squamous cell carcinoma(P< 0.01). (3)A correlation between FHIT reduced expression and lymph node metastasis was observed(P< 0.01). The positive rate of the FHIT protein was 54.1% in lung cancer tissues with metastasis compared with 60.5% in lung cancer tissues without metastasis. No association was found between hMSH(2) reduced expression and nodal metastasis(P >0.05). (4)Loss of FHIT protein correlated significantly with lasting and heavy smoking(P< 0.01). The positive rate of the FHIT protein was 53.1% in smoking group compared with 66.1% in non-smoking group. The reduction of hMSH(2) expression was not associated with smoking(P >0.05). (5)An inverse correlation was found between hMSH(2) reduced expression and FHIT protein loss (P< 0.01, RR=-0.54).
Conclusion: FHIT gene may be a negative regulatory gene of hMSH(2) gene, and play an important role in the inactivation mechanism of hMSH(2) gene.