Expression of heart-type fatty acid-binding protein in human gastric carcinoma and its association with tumor aggressiveness, metastasis and poor prognosis

Pathobiology. 2004;71(5):267-73. doi: 10.1159/000080061.


Objective: Fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are involved in lipid metabolism by intracellular transport of long-chain fatty acids. Heart-type (H-) FABP has been reported to inhibit cell growth and induce cell differentiation, but to our knowledge the significance of H-FABP expression in human gastric carcinoma has not been elucidated. The aim of the current study was to examine the expression of H-FABP and its relation to clinicopathologic parameters and fatty acid synthase (FAS) status of gastric carcinoma, since gastric cancer shows increased expression of FAS.

Methods: Immunohistochemistry with anti-H-FABP antibody was performed in 669 gastric carcinomas and 60 tubular adenomas of the stomach. H-FABP-positive and H-FABP-negative carcinomas were analyzed for their clinicopathologic characteristics and FAS status.

Results: None of the adenomas expressed H-FABP, whereas 127 of 669 carcinomas (19.0%) were positive for the protein. H-FABP positivity was associated with the depth of invasion (p <0.0001), vascular invasion (p <0.0001), lymph node metastasis (p <0.0001), hepatic metastasis (p=0.0011), stage of the carcinoma (p <0.0001) and FAS status of the carcinoma (p=0.0476). A higher survival rate was noted in H-FABP-negative cases compared with H-FABP-positive cases (p=0.0004).

Conclusions: A subset of human gastric carcinoma expresses H-FABP and its expression is associated with FAS status, disease progression, tumor aggressiveness and poor patient survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / metabolism
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / secondary
  • Prognosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Analysis


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Fatty Acid Synthases