Overexpression of Mesothelin in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC)

Int J Med Sci. 2020 Feb 4;17(4):422-427. doi: 10.7150/ijms.39012. eCollection 2020.


Purpose: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) with difficulty in early diagnosis does not respond well to conventional treatments and has not occurred significant improvement in the overall 5-year survival rates. Mesothelin (MSLN) is a tumor differentiation antigen expressed in several solid neoplasms and a limited number of healthy tissues. Its selective expression on malignant cells makes it an interesting candidate for investigation as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker and as a therapeutic target. In this study, we detected the expression of MSLN in PDAC and analyzed the correlation between the expression of MSLN and clinicopathological data, so as to provide more theoretical basis for the role of MSLN in the diagnosis and treatment of PDAC. Patients and methods: Cancer and para-cancer tissues of 24 cases with PDAC were assessed by standardized immunohistochemical (IHC) detection with two kinds of anti-MSLN antibodies (EPR4509 and EPR19025-42) to detect their positive expression rates and study the correlation between the expression of MSLN and the clinicopathological data. Results: The two anti-MSLN antibodies of cancer tissues showed positive expression with tan yellow or tan brown granules diffusely distributed on the cell membrane in 22 of 24 cases with PDAC (positive rate of 91.67%), and the positive expression of the two antibodies EPR4509 and EPR19025-42 was completely consistent in all tissue samples. No expression of the two anti-MSLN antibodies was found in para-cancer tissues and the difference was statistically significant (χ2=40.615, p=0.000, p<0.05) when compared with PDAC tissues. There was no significant correlation between MSLN expression and clinicopathological data, such as gender, tumor size, location, pathological stage, differentiation degree and lymph node metastasis (p>0.05). Conclusion: MSLN was highly expressed in PDAC tissues, but not in paracancerous tissues. There was no significant correlation between MSLN expression and clinicopathological factors. The overexpression of MSLN may have promising prospects in diagnosis, targeted therapy and immunotherapy of PDAC.

Keywords: anti-mesothelin antibodies; immunohistochemistry (IHC); mesothelin (MSLN); pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology*
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Mesothelin
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis


  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • MSLN protein, human
  • Mesothelin

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic Carcinoma