Background: Expression of nm23 has been shown to be inversely correlated with the metastatic potential of several human cancers. In the current study, the expression and prognostic impact of nm23 was immunohistochemically studied in 413 curatively resected gastric carcinomas.
Methods: Tumor sections of the 413 gastric carcinomas were stained with a polyclonal antibody that was raised against the nm23-H1/NDP kinase A, which is identical to the nm23-H1 gene product.
Results: Expression of nm23 was detected in 84.5% (n = 349) of all tumors, in the majority of cases (71.2%) causing a homogeneous staining reaction in more than 75% of tumor cells. Expression of nm23 was positively correlated with the intestinal type of tumor, according to the Lauren classification and advanced pT categories, and was also correlated with the presence of blood and lymphatic vessel invasion. In contrast, no correlation could be demonstrated between nm23 expression and lymph node involvement. As shown in univariate analysis, patients with nm23 positive tumors, especially those with nm23 positive diffuse-type carcinomas, had significantly shorter overall survival than patients with nm23 negative tumors (P = 0.03 and P = 0.0065, respectively). However, in a multivariate analysis that included the prognostic parameters pT category, pN category, and blood and lymphatic vessel invasion, this prognostic impact was not maintained.
Conclusions: In contrast to results for breast and colorectal carcinomas, our results for 413 gastric carcinomas showed that expression of the designated metastasis suppressor gene nm23 is correlated with aggressive tumor growth and poor prognosis but is not an independent prognostic marker.