Objectives: To determine the value of loss of the expression of E-cadherin and cadherin-associated molecules as useful markers for both prognosis and bladder recurrence in patients with upper urinary tract cancer.
Materials and methods: In 61 paraffin-embedded nephroureterectomy specimens, the expression of E-cadherin and alpha-, beta-, and gamma-catenin was examined by immunohistochemical staining. To evaluate the prognostic significance, Kaplan-Meier survival curves were calculated and compared by the log-rank test. A multivariate test was performed to detect prognostic markers.
Results: Normal expression was found in 32 cases (52.5%) for E-cadherin, 41 cases (67.2%) for alpha-catenin, 42 cases (68.9%) for beta-catenin, and 31 cases (50.8%) for gamma-catenin. The expression patterns of E-cadherin and alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenin were significantly correlated with each other. Survival analysis showed a significant difference between normal and aberrant expression in each staining. Multivariate analysis revealed that tumor stage and the expression of E-cadherin were independent prognostic factors for cause-specific survival. In contrast, there was no significant correlation between the expression of E-cadherin and alpha-, beta-, and gamma-catenin and bladder recurrence.
Conclusion: Our data suggest E-cadherin may be a good prognostic marker for patients with upper urinary tract cancer.