Background: Previous studies have revealed that cadherin-catenin-complex have an impact on adhesive function between the cells and that the expression of these complexes are associated with tumour invasion and metastatic potential. In this study we investigated the expression of catenins (alpha, beta, chi) and their relationship to clinicopathological factors and prognosis in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Patients and methods: The expression of catenins was analysed immunohistochemically in 36 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, diagnosed and treated between 1994 and 1999 at Kuopio University Hospital, Finland. The staining results were compared with clinicopathological characteristics and survival.
Results: Immunohistochemical findings demonstrated that alternation of alpha- and beta-catenin expression correlated significantly with tumour grade. A clear trend between low catenin expression and poor survival was demonstrated among all catenin groups. In multivariate analysis, lymph node status and beta-catenin expression showed prognostic value.
Conclusion: Abnormal catenin expression seemed to be related to poor survival in pancreatic cancer patients, and especially beta-catenin expression may have prognostic value.