Expression of the intestine-specific transcription factors, Cdx1 and Cdx2, correlates shift to an intestinal phenotype in gastric cancer cells

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2004 Jan;130(1):29-36. doi: 10.1007/s00432-003-0503-1. Epub 2003 Nov 13.


Purpose: It is well known that gastric cancers (GCs) at early stages, independent of the histological type, mainly consist of gastric phenotype malignant cells, while those at advanced stage tend to have a more intestinal phenotype with progression. However, the connection between this shift and expression of homeobox genes, which are important factors to maintain tissue character, has remained unclear. We therefore evaluated the expression of Cdx1/2 in relation to the phenotype of GCs.

Methods: We analyzed the expression of Cdx1/2 mRNAs by Northern blotting and Cdx2 protein by immunohistochemistry in seventy advanced GCs, and evaluated phenotypically using mucin- and immunohistochemistry.

Results: Seventy GCs were divided phenotypically into 16 gastric (G type), 18 gastric and intestinal mixed (GI type), 18 intestinal (I type), and 18 null (N type) phenotypes, independent of the histological classification. Cdx1 and Cdx2 mRNAs statistically demonstrated an increase with shift from G to I ( P=0.042 and P=0.0082, respectively). Cdx2 nuclear staining was observed immunohistochemically in the intestinal phenotypic cancer cells, but could not be detected in those with only the gastric phenotype.

Conclusions: These results show that Cdx1 and Cdx2 might be indispensable for intestinal phenotypic expression even in gastric cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Blotting, Northern
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Homeodomain Proteins / analysis*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestines*
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors / analysis*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CDX1 protein, human
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor
  • CDX2 protein, human
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors