Context: Gastric neuroendocrine tumors are rare neoplasms that originate from gastric enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells in the oxyntic mucosa. Gastrin and its derivates have been reported to regulate epithelial cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation. Mutations in the epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin) gene have been shown to be associated with the occurrence of diffuse gastric carcinomas in affected families.
Objective: In this study we investigated the histopathological and molecular findings in the gastrointestinal wall of a patient with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 with malignant duodenal gastrinoma and multiple gastric ECL cell tumors, who additionally developed a signet-ring cell carcinoma of the stomach.
Design and patient: Biopsies from the gastrointestinal tract of a patient with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 were immunostained for vesicular monoamine transporter-2 and E-cadherin. Nonamidated gastrin products were measured in the serum of the patient using antibodies that react with progastrin, Gly-extended, and amidated gastrins. Genetic analyses were performed to exclude germ-line mutations within the E-cadherin gene.
Results: Immunohistochemical studies of gastric ECL cell tumors showed a largely diminished E-cadherin expression in comparison to gastric surface mucosa cells and a loss of E-cadherin expression in the cells of the signet-ring carcinoma. Detailed biochemical measurements revealed progastrin concentrations that were approximately 20%, and Gly-gastrin concentrations that were approximately 10% the amidated gastrin concentrations in plasma. Molecular analyses revealed no E-cadherin germ-line mutation.
Conclusion: Our immunohistochemical studies might suggest that the gastrinoma-associated excessive progastrin tissue concentrations led to diminished expression of E-cadherin within the gastric mucosa and promoted tumor development of a signet-ring cell carcinoma.