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.