Published online Aug 15, 2001. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v7.i4.542
Revised: June 8, 2001
Accepted: June 15, 2001
Published online: August 15, 2001
AIM: To study the abnormal expression of β-catenin gene and its relationship with invasiveness of primary hepatocellular carcinoma among Chinese people.
METHODS: Thirty-four hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) specimens and adjacent paracancerous tissues, 4 normal liver tissues were immunohistochemically stained to study subcellular distribution of β-catenin. Semiquantitive analysis of expression of β-catenin gene exon 3 mRNA was examined by RT-PCR and in situ hybridization. The relationship between expressions of both β-catenin protein, mRNA and clinicopathological characteristics of HCC was also analyzed.
RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry showed that all normal liver tissues and para-cancerous tissues examined displayed membranous type staining for β-catenin protein, occasionally with weak expression in the cytoplasm. While 21 cases (61.8%) of HCC examined showed accumulated type in cytoplasms or nuclei. The accumuled type Labling Index (LI) of cancer tissue and para-cancarous tissue was (59.9 ± 26.3) and (18.3 ± 9.7) respectively (P < 0.01). Higher accumulated type LI was closely related with invasiveness of HCC. Results of RT-PCR showed the β-catenin gene exon 3 mRNA Expression Index (EI) of 34 HCCs was higher than that of para-cancerous tissue and normal liver tissue. Using in situ hybridization, the signal corresponding to β-catenin gene exon 3 mRNA was particularly strong in cytoplasm of HCC when compared with those of para-cancerous and normal liver tissues. Over expression of β-catenin exon 3 was also found to be correlated with high metastatic potential of HCC.
CONCLUSION: Abnormal expression of β-catenin gene may contribute importantly to the invasiveness of HCC among Chinese people.