Background: Mesothelin is expressed in various types of malignant tumour, and we recently reported that expression of mesothelin was related to an unfavourable patient outcome in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. In this study, we examined the clinicopathological significance of the mesothelin expression in gastric cancer, especially in terms of its association with the staining pattern.
Methods: Tissue specimens from 110 gastric cancer patients were immunohistochemically examined. The staining proportion and intensity of mesothelin expression in tumour cells were analysed, and the localisation of mesothelin was classified into luminal membrane and/or cytoplasmic expression.
Results: Mesothelin was positive in 49 cases, and the incidence of mesothelin expression was correlated with lymph-node metastasis. Furthermore, luminal membrane staining of mesothelin was identified in 16 cases, and the incidence of luminal membrane expression was also correlated with pT factor, pStage, lymphatic permeation, blood vessel permeation, recurrence, and poor patient outcome. Multivariate analysis showed that luminal membrane expression of mesothelin was an independent predictor of overall patient survival.
Conclusion: We described that the luminal membrane expression of mesothelin was a reliable prognostic factor in gastric cancer, suggesting the functional significance of membrane-localised mesothelin in the aggressive behaviour of gastric cancer cells.