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.