CEACAM5 and TROP2 define metaplastic and dysplastic transitions in human antral gastric precancerous lesions and tumors

Gastric Cancer. 2024 Mar;27(2):263-274. doi: 10.1007/s10120-023-01458-2. Epub 2024 Jan 14.


Background: Mucosal gastric atrophy and intestinal metaplasia (IM) increase the risk for the development of gastric cancer (GC) as they represent a field for development of dysplasia and intestinal-type gastric adenocarcinoma.

Methods: We have investigated the expression of two dysplasia markers, CEACAM5 and TROP2, in human antral IM and gastric tumors to assess their potential as molecular markers.

Results: In the normal antral mucosa, weak CEACAM5 and TROP2 expression was only observed in the foveolar epithelium, while inflamed antrum exhibited increased expression of both markers. Complete IM exhibited weak CEACAM5 expression at the apical surface, but no basolateral TROP2 expression. On the other hand, incomplete IM demonstrated high levels of both CEACAM5 and TROP2 expression. Notably, incomplete IM with dysplastic morphology (dysplastic incomplete IM) exhibited higher levels of CEACAM5 and TROP2 expression compared to incomplete IM without dysplastic features (simple incomplete IM). In addition, dysplastic incomplete IM showed diminished SOX2 and elevated CDX2 expression compared to simple incomplete IM. CEACAM5 and TROP2 positivity in incomplete IM was similar to that of gastric adenomas and GC. Significant association was found between CEACAM5 and TROP2 positivity and histology of GC.

Conclusions: These findings support the concept that incomplete IM is more likely associated with GC development. Overall, our study provides evidence of the heterogeneity of gastric IM and the distinct expression profiles of CEACAM5 and TROP2 in dysplastic incomplete IM. Our findings support the potential use of CEACAM5 and TROP2 as molecular markers for identifying individuals with a higher risk of GC development in the context of incomplete IM.

Keywords: Antrum; CD44v9; CEACAM5; Complete intestinal; Dysplasia; Immunostaining; Incomplete intestinal metaplasia; Intestinal metaplasia; Metaplasia; SPEM; TACSTD2; TROP2.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Humans
  • Metaplasia
  • Precancerous Conditions* / pathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / pathology


  • CEACAM5 protein, human
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • GPI-Linked Proteins