Background: Although Ras-association domain family of gene 2 (RASSF2) has been shown to undergo promoter methylation at high frequency in some cancer types and in brain metastases, its clinical utility as a useful prognostic molecular marker remains unclear in gastric cancer.
Methods: Prognostic significance of RASSF2 expression was retrospectively analysed by immunohistochemically in 105 patients with gastric cancer who underwent curative gastrectomy.
Results: Low RASSF2 expression was detected in 58 (55 %) patients, whereas 47 patients (45 %) had high RASSF2 expression. Lymph node involvement, pT stage, TNM stage, vascular invasion, perineural invasion and the presence of recurrence were found to be significantly related to RASSF2 expression levels. Low PRL-3 expression was closely correlated with lymph node metastasis (p = 0.001), advanced pT stage (p = 0.021), advanced TNM stage (p < 0.001), the presence of vascular invasion (p < 0.001), perineural invasion (p = 0.018) and high prevalence of recurrence (p = 0.003) compared with high RASSF2 expression. The median disease-free survival (DFS) time for patients with low RASSF2 expression was significantly worse than that of patients with high RASSF2 expression (10.2 vs. 50.6 months, p < 0.001). In addition, patients with high RASSF2 expression had the higher overall survival (OS) interval compared to patients with low RASSF2 expression (NR vs. 14.9 months, p < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis, the rate of RASSF2 expression levels was an independent prognostic factor, for DFS [p < 0.001, HR 0.12 (0.10-0.88)] and OS [p < 0.001, HR 0.10 (0.04-0.46)], as were pT stage and TNM stage, respectively.
Conclusions: RASSF2 may be an important molecular marker for carcinogenesis, prognosis and progression in gastric cancer, but the potential value of RASSF2 expression as a useful molecular marker in gastric cancer progression should be evaluated, comprehensively. It would be possible to develop treatments targeting RASSF2 and advance new treatment strategies for gastric cancer.
Keywords: Gastric cancer; Prognosis; RASSF2 expression.