Published online Nov 15, 2003. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v9.i11.2579
Revised: June 1, 2003
Accepted: June 12, 2003
Published online: November 15, 2003
AIM: To compare the difference of expression of Bcl-2 and Bax in extrahepatic biliary tract carcinoma and dysplasia, and to analyze the role of Bcl-2 and Bax proteins in the progression from dysplasia to carcinoma and to evaluate the correlation of Bcl-2/Bax protein expression with the biological behaviors.
METHODS: Expressions of Bcl-2 and Bax were examined immunohistochemically in 27 cases of extrahepatic biliary tract carcinomas (bile duct carcinoma: n = 21, carcinoma of ampulla of Vater: n = 6), and 10 cases of atypical dysplasia. Five cases of normal biliary epithelial tissues were used as controls. A semiquantitative scoring system was used to assess the Bcl-2 and Bax reactivity.
RESULTS: The expression of Bcl-2 was observed in 10 out of 27 (37.0%) invasive carcinomas, 1 out of 10 dysplasias, none out of 5 normal epithelial tissues. Bax expression rate was 74.1% (20/27) in invasive carcinoma, 30% (3/10) in dysplasia, and 40% (2/5) in normal biliary epithelium. Bcl-2 and Bax activities were more intense in carcinoma than in dysplasia, with no significant difference in Bcl-2 expression (P = 0.110), and significant difference in Bax expression (P = 0.038). Level of Bax expression was higher in invasive carcinoma than in dysplasia and normal tissue (P = 0.012). Bcl-2 expression was correlated to Bax expression (P = 0.0059). However, Bcl-2/Bax expression had no correlation with histological subtype, grade of differentiation, or level of invasion.
CONCLUSION: Increased Bcl-2/Bax expression from dysplasia to invasive tumors supports the view that this is the usual route for the development of extrahepatic biliary tract carcinoma. Bcl-2/Bax may be involved, at least in part, in the apoptotic activity in extrahepatic biliary carcinoma.