CD146 has been regarded as a novel potential therapeutic target for multiple cancers. The aim of the study was to investigate the expression of CD146 in gastric cancer and evaluate its clinical-pathological and prognostic significance. The expression of CD146 and three epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related proteins (E-cadherin, β-catenin and vimentin) was examined in 144 gastric cancers by immunohistochemistry. Fifty-nine cases (41.0%) were defined as positive for CD146 expression. We found that CD146 expression correlated positively with lymph node involvement and a poor prognosis, and retained an independent prognostic factor for gastric cancer patients. Furthermore, positive expression of CD146 was strongly associated with loss of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and acquisition of the expression of the mesenchymal markers nuclear β-catenin and vimentin. These findings suggest that CD146 might promote EMT and progression in gastric cancer, and thus may be a potential therapeutic target for patients with gastric cancers.
Keywords: CD146; epithelial-mesenchymal transition; gastric cancer; immunohistochemistry; prognosis.