Cadherin-17 is a useful diagnostic marker for adenocarcinomas of the digestive system

Mod Pathol. 2008 Nov;21(11):1379-86. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2008.107. Epub 2008 Jun 13.


Cadherin-17, also called liver-intestine cadherin, is a calcium-dependent transmembrane glycoprotein that mediates cell-cell adhesion in intestinal epithelium. Expression of cadherin-17 was reported in gastric, pancreatic, and colorectal adenocarcinomas but not in other tumors. Whether cadherin-17 can be used as a marker for diagnosis of cancers is still unclear. In this study, we used immunohistochemical methods to stain cadherin-17 in tissue arrays containing most normal tissues and 518 carcinomas from many anatomic sites. Among normal tissues, the expression of cadherin-17 was limited to epithelial cells of small intestine and colon. Colorectal adenocarcinomas showed staining in 96% of cases and most of them had strong and diffuse staining. Gastric, pancreatic, and biliary adenocarcinomas showed diffuse or scattered staining in about 25-50% of cases. Fewer than 1% of carcinomas outside the digestive system were positive for cadherin-17. When a two-marker, Cadherin-17/cytokeratin 7, profile was used, 37 of 38 (97%) cadherin-17(+)/cytokeratin 7(-) tumors were colorectal adenocarcinomas; 49 of 56 (86%) cadherin-17(+)/cytokeratin 7(+) tumors were gastric, pancreatic, or biliary adenocarcinomas. Our results show that cadherin-17 is a useful immunohistochemical marker for diagnosis of adenocarcinomas of the digestive system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Cadherins / analysis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Stomach Neoplasms / diagnosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CDH17 protein, human
  • Cadherins