Clinicopathological and prognostic significance of mucin phenotype in gastric cancer

J Surg Oncol. 2008 Aug 1;98(2):124-9. doi: 10.1002/jso.21093.


Background and objectives: Gastric and intestinal mucin phenotype cell markers are widely expressed in gastric carcinoma cells, irrespective of their tumor histological type. In the present study, we tried to reveal the clinicopathological significance of mucin phenotype in human gastric carcinomas. Moreover, we investigated the clinical significance of RUNX3 in association with mucin phenotype.

Methods: The mucin expression of MUC5AC, MUC6, MUC2, and CD10 was evaluated in 97 gastric carcinomas by immunohistochemistry. Tumors were classified into gastric (G), gastric and intestinal mixed (GI), intestinal (I), and null (N) phenotype according to combination of mucin expression.

Results: The rate of G, GI, I, and N phenotype was 40.0%, 38.1%, 10.3%, and 19.6%, respectively. Mucin phenotype was also significantly correlated with several clinicopathological findings. Patients with I phenotype had a significantly poorer prognosis than those with any other phenotypes. They also had a higher rate of postoperative liver metastasis. Multivariate analysis revealed that mucin phenotype was a significant independent prognostic factor. We suggested that Loss of RUNX3 expression might correlate with intestinal phenotype and postoperative outcome.

Conclusions: Mucin phenotype has a significant prognostic value and may be a useful marker for the treatment of human gastric carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Neprilysin / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 3 Subunit
  • Mucins
  • Neprilysin