Background: Gene expression of nm23 has been investigated in number of tumors, including breast cancer, colon cancer, malignant melanoma, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Its down-regulation has been shown to be associated with metastasis or disease progression in some of the tumors.
Methods: nm23 H-1 mRNA levels were investigated in 31 surgically resected specimens of gastric cancer by Northern blot analysis, and association with clinical stages was determined.
Results: There was no significant difference in nm23 expression between tumor and matching normal mucosa. There was a significant down-regulation of the nm23 gene in gastric cancer with serosal invasion (T3 and T4 by the TNM classification) and nodal metastasis (pN1 and pN2), although the association of the down-regulation with clinically manifest hepatic or peritoneal metastasis was not significant. The tumors with low nm23 expression were associated with a poor prognosis.
Conclusions: It was suggested that the down-regulation of nm23 gene might have a role in metastasis and invasion in gastric cancer, possibly leading to a poor prognosis.