Background: Hyaluronan a high-molecular weight glycosaminoglycan, is considered to be involved in the growth and progression of malignant tumours. The objective of this work was to evaluate the cytosolic hyaluronan content in gastric cancer cells, its possible relationship with clinicopathological tumour parameters and its potential prognostic significance.
Methods: Cytosolic hyaluronan levels were examined utilizing immunoenzymatic techniques in 129 patients with gastric cancer. The mean follow-up period for these patients was 28 months.
Results: Cytosolic hyaluronan levels ranged widely in tumours as well as in adjacent mucosal samples (median (range) 2822 (50-24,523) versus 3650 (507-20,782) ng/mg protein). Statistical analysis showed that tumour hyaluronan levels correlated significantly with patient's sex and the presence of lymphatic invasion. In addition, high tumour hyaluronan levels were significantly associated with shorter overall survival period (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Our results suggest that high tumoral cytosolic hyaluronan levels are associated with lesions of unfavorable outcome in gastric cancer patients. Thus, hyaluronan may provide additional prognostic information to that given by other biochemical markers currently used in gastric cancer.