Immunohistochemical evaluation of bcl-2 protein expression in gastric adenocarcinomas

Cancer. 1995 May 1;75(9):2209-13. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19950501)75:9<2209::aid-cncr2820750904>;2-m.


Background: bcl-2 protooncogene encodes for a 26 kD protein effective in inhibiting programmed cell death (apoptosis). Its expression has been noted in lymphomas and colonic, lung, and breast carcinomas. bcl-2 protein is believed to play a role in the gastric carcinogenic sequence where it has been demonstrated in dysplastic epithelium. To further study the role of bcl-2 protein in gastric carcinogenesis and tumor progression, an immunohistochemical study of bcl-2 expression in gastric adenocarcinomas and its relation to the histologic type, grade of differentiation, pT stage, lymph node status, and survival was performed.

Methods: Immunohistochemical staining using monoclonal bcl-2 protein antibody, clone 124, was performed on archival material.

Results: Forty-six of the sixty-four adenocarcinomas (72%) showed bcl-2 staining with immunoreactivity in 75% of the tumor or more. No specific pattern in the distribution of labeling was seen. bcl-2 reactivity was significantly associated with adenocarcinomas of the intestinal morphotype. Forty-five of 51 intestinal-type tumors (88%) were immunoreactive versus only 1 of the "diffuse" tumors (7%) (P = 0.001). Within the intestinal-type adenocarcinomas, a trend of increasing prevalence of immunoreactivity with higher histologic grades was seen. No correlation between bcl-2 expression and pT stage, lymph node status, or survival was observed.

Conclusion: bcl-2 expression in gastric adenocarcinoma appears to be associated almost exclusively with the intestinal morphotype and to some extent is more prevalent in grade 3 tumors. No correlation was noted with the pT stage, lymph node status, and survival. Inhibition of apoptosis through bcl-2 protein expression appears to be specifically associated with promotion of intestinal-type gastric adenocarcinoma but does not appear to be active and/or correlated with tumor progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oncogenes / genetics
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / analysis*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / analysis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Survival Rate


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins