Epithelial membrane protein-2 expression is an early predictor of endometrial cancer development

Cancer. 2010 Oct 15;116(20):4718-26. doi: 10.1002/cncr.25259.


Background: Endometrial cancer (EC) is a common malignancy worldwide. It is often preceded by endometrial hyperplasia, whose management and risk of neoplastic progression vary. Previously, the authors have shown that the tetraspan protein epithelial membrane protein-2 (EMP2) is a prognostic indicator for EC aggressiveness and survival. Here the authors validate the expression of EMP2 in EC, and further examine whether EMP2 expression within preneoplastic lesions is an early prognostic biomarker for EC development.

Methods: A tissue microarray (TMA) was constructed with a wide representation of benign and malignant endometrial samples. The TMA contains a metachronous cohort of cases from individuals who either developed or did not develop EC. Intensity and frequency of EMP2 expression were assessed using immunohistochemistry.

Results: There was a stepwise, statistically significant increase in the average EMP2 expression from benign to hyperplasia to atypia to EC. Furthermore, detailed analysis of EMP2 expression in potentially premalignant cases demonstrated that EMP2 positivity was a strong predictor for EC development.

Conclusions: EMP2 is an early predictor of EC development in preneoplastic lesions. In addition, combined with our previous findings, these results validate EMP2 as a novel biomarker for EC development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-3 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • EIF3A protein, human
  • EMP2 protein, human
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-3
  • Membrane Glycoproteins