Aim: To detect the presence of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), nitrotyrosine (NT) and apoptosis in gastric adenocarcinomas and their possible correlations with the clinicopathological characteristics and prognosis of gastric adenocarcinoma.
Methods: Sixty-six specimens of gastric adenocarcinoma and corresponding adjacent normal gastric tissues were studied. Immunohistochemistry was employed to localize iNOS and NT protein and an immunohistochemical scoring system was used. The occurrence of apoptotic cell death (apoptotic index (AI)) was analyzed by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate biotin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) method.
Results: Results showed that iNOS expression was detected at an intermediate or high level in 41 of 66 (62%) specimens of gastric adenocarcinoma. NT expression was 58%. Neither of them was found in the normal gastric tissues; there were significant positive correlations among iNOS expression, NT expression and AI. Many clinicopathologic characteristics of gastric adenocarcinoma, such as tumor size, depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis and TNM staging, were related to iNOS and NT expressions (P<0.05). In 66 surviving patients, the 5-year survival rate of 41 patients who had tumors with intermediate or high iNOS expressions and high AIs (4.09%; 19.96%) was significantly lower than that of 25 patients who had tumors with negative or low iNOS expressions and low AIs (0.79%; 47.14%) (P = 0.001). COX's multivariate analysis revealed that the iNOS expression was identified as one of the significant independent prognostic factors predictive of a poor survival (relative risk (RR) = 2.69).
Conclusion: NO produced by iNOS may play a stronger role in promoting gastric adenocarcinoma growth than in suppressing its growth. iNOS and NT expressions by gastric adenocarcinoma may correlate with a poor survival.