Aberrant distributions and relationships among E-cadherin, beta-catenin, and connexin 26 and 43 in endometrioid adenocarcinomas

Int J Gynecol Pathol. 2010 Jul;29(4):358-65. doi: 10.1097/PGP.0b013e3181c3c57f.


During carcinogenesis, loss of intracellular cohesion is observed among cancer cells with altered expression of such adhesion molecules as E-cadherin and beta-catenin, and aberrant expression and cellular location of intercellular gap junction proteins-connexins. The aim of this study was to evaluate immunohistochemically the expression and relationship between E-cadherin and beta-catenin, and the connexins Cx26 and Cx43 in 86 endometrioid adenocarcinomas. The aberrant cytoplasmic translocation of the studied proteins was a predominant finding, whereas only a minority of cases showed normal, nuclear beta-catenin labeling or membranous distribution of the remaining molecules. E-cadherin was positively and significantly associated with beta-catenin (P=0.001, r=0.366), as was Cx26 with Cx43 (P<0.001, r=0.719), E-cadherin with Cx26 (P<0.001, r=0.413), and E-cadherin and Cx43 (P<0.001, r=0.434) in all cancers. A subgroup of endometrioid adenocarcinomas (FIGO IB+II) exclusively showed a positive significant association between the expression of beta-catenin and Cx26 (P=0.038, r=0.339). In addition, there were significantly more beta-catenin-positive carcinomas among superficially spreading cancers (FIGO IA) than among deeper invading neoplasms (FIGO IB+II) (P=0.056). The altered location of the studied proteins indicates impairment of their physiological functions. In particular, normal membranous distribution of E-cadherin and connexins is lost and replaced by abnormal cytoplasmic accumulation in most cancers, and thus intercellular ties are expected to be weakened and loosened as a consequence. In contrast, the lack of relationship between beta-catenin and connexins, E-cadherin seems to be closely associated with the expression of Cx26 and Cx43 in endometrioid adenocarcinomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology*
  • Connexin 26
  • Connexin 43 / metabolism*
  • Connexins / metabolism*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Cadherins
  • Connexin 43
  • Connexins
  • GJB2 protein, human
  • beta Catenin
  • Connexin 26