Tumour epithelial vimentin expression and outcome of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas

Br J Cancer. 2011 Apr 12;104(8):1296-302. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.93. Epub 2011 Mar 29.


Purpose: Tumour epithelial vimentin expression is a marker of mesenchymal differentiation and may be a useful marker of carcinomas with more aggressive behaviour. The aim of this study was to determine the extent and prognostic significance of vimentin expression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.

Methods: Vimentin expression was detected by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays of surgically resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas from 387 patients. The percentage of vimentin-immunolabelled neoplastic cells was correlated with outcome and with clinico-pathological factors using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox multivariate survival models.

Results: In all, 45% of primary pancreatic adenocarcinomas contained neoplastic cells that expressed vimentin, and in 27.5% of the cancers >10% of cells expressed vimentin. Vimentin expression was correlated with poor histological differentiation. By both uni- and multivariate survival analysis, neoplastic vimentin expression (P<0.01, HR 1.52, 95% confidence interval 1.14-2.04) was an indicator of a shorter postsurgical survival independent of other clinico-pathological variables.

Conclusion: The presence of vimentin-expressing tumour epithelial cells in surgically resected pancreatic adenocarcinomas independently predicted a shorter postsurgical survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / surgery
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Vimentin / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Vimentin