Background: Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is a highly malignant carcinoma. We attempted to clarify the prognostic significance of c-Met overexpression and its association with clinicopathological factors in patients with CC.
Patients and methods: One hundred and eleven patients with intrahepatic CC (IHCC) and 136 patients with extrahepatic CC (EHCC) who had undergone curative surgery were divided immunohistologically into c-Met(high) and c-Met(low) groups. Clinicopathological factors and outcomes were compared between the groups. c-Met and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression was also examined in 10 CC cell lines.
Results: The positivity of c-Met was 45.0% in IHCC and 68.4% in EHCC; c-Met(high) expression was demonstrated in 11.7% of IHCC and 16.2% of EHCC. c-Met(high) expression was significantly correlated with the 5-year survival rate for CC overall (P=0.0046) and for IHCC (P=0.0013), histopathological classification in EHCC, and for EGFR overexpression in both IHCC and EHCC. Coexpression and coactivation of c-Met and EGFR were also observed in CC cell lines. Multivariate analysis revealed that c-Met(high) expression was an independent predictor of poor overall and disease-free survival in patients with IHCC.
Conclusions: c-Met overexpression is associated with EGFR expression and is a poor prognostic factor in CC.