Background: The aim of this study was to compare gene copy number (GCN) and protein expression of MET and to evaluate their prognostic roles in gastric carcinomas.
Methods: MET protein expression and gene amplification (GA) status were determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and silver in-situ hybridisation (SISH), respectively, in a large series of gastric carcinoma.
Results: Protein overexpression was observed in 104 of 438 cases, with IHC 2+ in 94 and IHC 3+ in 10, and high polysomy of chromosome 7 and GA were found in 61 and 13 of 381, respectively. Direct comparison revealed a significant correlation between high level of protein expression and increased GCN. All cases with GA showed protein overexpression. Furthermore, all with IHC 3+ showed GA except 1, even which could be categorised as GA according to the ASCO/CAP guideline for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 assessment. IHC 3+ and GA were significantly associated with poor prognosis.
Conclusion: MET IHC reflects well on GA, and therefore, it could be a primary screening test for patient selection for anti-MET therapy if GA is a major determinant of drug responsiveness. Also, the prognostic role of MET indicates that anti-MET therapy is a very promising modality in adjuvant treatment for gastric cancer.