Purpose: Gastrin is a growth factor of cancerous and normal cells of the gastrointestinal tract, and its effect is known to be mediated by gastrin/cholecystokinin B (CCKB) receptor. This study was performed to investigate the prognostic significance and the expression profiles of gastrin and gastrin receptor in human gastric carcinoma tissues.
Methods: We analyzed the expressions of gastrin and gastrin receptor by immunohistochemical staining using anti-gastrin Ab (Sigma, St. Louis, MO, USA) and anti-gastrin receptor Ab (Aphton Corp., Woodland, CA, USA) in 279 gastric adenocarcinoma patients. Patients' clinicopathologic features and prognoses were analyzed.
Results: The gastrin expression rate in these patients was 47.7% (133/279) and the gastrin receptor expression rate was 56.5% (158/279). Gastrin expression was significantly higher in men than in women (54.3% vs. 34.1%), and higher in differentiated gastric adenocarcinoma than in the undifferentiated type (55.1% vs. 43.0%). The gastrin receptor expression rate was also significantly higher in men than in women (61.2% vs. 47.3%), and was higher in the differentiated type than in the undifferentiated type (72.9% vs. 46.5%), and significantly higher in the intestinal type than in the diffuse type (75.2% vs. 42.9%). Gastrin and gastrin/CCKB receptor expressions were not found to be significant prognostic factors in themselves. When focused on correlation between the co-expression of gastrin and gastrin/CCKB receptor and the survival, the prognosis of patients positive for both gastrin and gastrin receptor was significantly poorer than for those negative for gastrin and gastrin receptor in diffuse-type gastric cancer patients. However, multivariate analysis showed that only TNM stage was an independent prognostic factor of survival in diffuse-type gastric cancer patients.
Conclusions: This study shows that the expression rates of gastrin and gastrin receptor are high (about a half) in gastric carcinoma tissues, and that there is an association between gastrin and gastrin receptor expression. We also found that patients with diffuse-type gastric carcinoma tissues expressing both gastrin and gastrin receptor have a poorer prognosis than those negative for both, which suggests that gastrin acts as an autocrine growth factor in a subgroup of gastric carcinomas.