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Cell proliferation, cell death, E-cadherin, metalloproteinase expression and angiogenesis in gastric cancer precursors and early cancer of the intestinal type

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The aim of this study was to analyse the morphological, kinetic and molecular characteristics of low-grade (LGD) and high-grade dysplasias (HDG) in comparison with intestinal metaplasia type III (IM III) and normal mucosa (NM) as well as with early gastric cancer of the intestinal type (EGC). Based on this it was verified whether these categories are distinct, progressive proliferative steps from IM III to LGD, HGD and EGC, according to Correa's sequence of events. The morphology, mitotic index (MI), and the apoptotic index (AI) were assessed. The E-cadherin expression (E-Cad), matrix-metalloproteinase activity (MMP2), and the number of microvessels (NV) were also evaluated. Among the categories, MI increases from NM to IM III and LGD, and from LGD to HGD and EGC, while AI continues to increase also from HGD to EGC. E-cad decreases from NM to EGC, although not significantly from LGD to HGD; MMP2 is significantly more expressed only in EGC. Three groups are obtained by means of cluster analysis. The first group includes all the NMs and IM IIIs, all except 1 LGD, about half of HGDs, and 1 EGC. E-Cad is highly expressed, MMP2 and angiogenesis are low, the proliferative activity is low and mitoses are partly balanced by apoptoses. The second group includes some EGCs and HGDs and is characterised by a very high proliferative activity and cell death; there is an initial loss of cell adhesion, an increase of MMP2 and NV. The third group includes the majority of EGCs, but also 1 HGD: it has intermediate MI and AI, the lowest expression of E-Cad, the highest expression of MMP2 and the most numerous microvessels. These results underscore the necessity of evaluating each case individually within the same singular category of Correa's sequence. The use of kinetic and molecular parameters in addition to the morphological analysis may give important information on the behaviour of the various lesions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Pathological Anatomy and Histology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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