Decreased expression of SEMA3A is associated with poor prognosis in gastric carcinoma

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014 Jul 15;7(8):4782-94. eCollection 2014.


Background/purpose: SEMA3A (semaphorin-3A), is a secreted protein that belongs to the semaphorin family and can function as both a chemoattractive agent or a chemorepulsive agent. SEMA3A has been shown to be a tumor suppressor in various cancers. This study investigated the expression of SEMA3A in gastric cancer and its prognostic value for gastric cancer patients.

Methods: We examined the expression of SEMA3A in paired cancerous and matched adjacent noncancerous gastric mucosa tissues by real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) and western blotting. In vitro, we evaluate the effects of SEMA3A on gastric cancer cell proliferation and migration by MTT, transwell and wound-healing assays. Furthermore, we analyzed SEMA3A expression in 128 patients who underwent resection procedures using immunohistochemistry. The relationships between the SEMA3A expression levels, the clinicopathological factors, and patient survival were investigated.

Results: Our results revealed decreased SEMA3A mRNA (P = 0.0037) and protein (P = 0.033) expression in tumor tissue samples compared with matched adjacent non-tumorous tissue samples. Overexpression of SEMA3A inhibits gastric cancer cell proliferation and migration in vitro. Immunohistochemical staining data showed that SEMA3A expression was significantly decreased in 54.68% of gastric cancer cases. In addition, the chi-square test revealed that low SEMA3A expression was significantly correlated with poor differentiation (P = 0.015), Vascular invasion (P = 0.001), depth of invasion (P < 0.001), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.029), distant metastasis (P = 0.002) and advanced TNM stage (P = 0.003). SEMA3A expression was positively correlated with clinical TNM stage, that suggested the more advanced clinical TNM stage corresponding to the lower expression level of SEMA3A (rs = -0.322, P < 0.001) by Spearman rank correlation analysis. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis demonstrated that low expression of SEMA3A was significantly correlated with a poor prognosis for gastric cancer patients (P < 0.001). The multivariate analysis revealed that SEMA3A expression was an independent prognostic factor of the overall survival rate of patients with gastric cancer.

Conclusion: SEMA3A expression decreased significantly as gastric cancer progressed and metastasized, suggesting that SEMA3A might serve as a candidate tumor suppressor and a potential prognostic biomarker in gastric carcinogenesis.

Keywords: SEMA3A; gastric cancer; prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Semaphorin-3A / biosynthesis*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / mortality
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • SEMA3A protein, human
  • Semaphorin-3A