Aberrant E-cadherin expression associated with loss of differentiation and advanced stage in human pancreatic cancer

Anticancer Res. Nov-Dec 1998;18(6A):4177-80.


E-cadherin is a cell-cell adhesion molecule involved in tumour invasion and metastasis. We evaluated E-cadherin expression immunohistochemically in 43 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of pancreatic cancer and investigated its relationship to histopathological features. In non-cancerous pancreatic cells E-cadherin immunoreactivity was localized at the cell membrane, particularly at the intercellular junctions. Abnormal E-cadherin expression was found in 18 (42%) cases. A significantly higher proportion of poorly-differentiated tumours (71%) showed abnormal E-cadherin expression compared with moderately (50%) and well (19%) differentiated tumours (P = 0.037). There was a significant correlation between abnormal E-cadherin expression and lymph node involvement (P = 0.013), the presence of distant metastases (P = 0.034) and advanced tumour stage (P = 0.025). These findings suggest that loss of normal E-cadherin expression is involved in the progression of pancreatic cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Cadherins / analysis*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / pathology
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intercellular Junctions / pathology
  • Intercellular Junctions / ultrastructure
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreas / ultrastructure
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Cadherins