Aim: This study was undertaken to determine the expression of cell adhesion molecules E-cadherin, cadherin-11, and alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenins in nephroblastomas and to correlate this expression with pathological features and known prognostic factors.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry was performed on 140 cases of nephroblastoma following heat-induced epitope retrieval and using the streptavidin-biotin technique.
Results: E-cadherin was expressed in 75 cases (54%), cadherin-11 in 128 cases (91%), alpha-catenin in 93 cases (66%), beta-catenin in 133 cases (95%) and gamma-catenin in 22 cases (16%). Nuclear localisation of beta-catenin was not demonstrated. There was a statistically significant relationship between the administration of preoperative chemotherapy and the expression of E-cadherin, alpha- and gamma-catenin, respectively. These proteins were more frequently expressed in tumours treated with preoperative chemotherapy. Those tumours that expressed all four proteins (E-cadherin, alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenin) showed a statistically significant association with the administration of preoperative chemotherapy, in contrast to tumours that did not express all four proteins.
Conclusion: Nephroblastomas show a heterogeneous distribution of staining for E-cadherin, cadherin-11, alpha-, beta- and gamma-catenins. Tumours treated with preoperative chemotherapy are more likely to express these molecules. The expression status of E-cadherin, cadherin-11 and the catenins in this cohort does not appear to be of prognostic value.