Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Tumour markers as prognostic factors of survival of gastric cancer patients

Jan-Patrik Wiksten

Doctoral dissertation, May 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Department of Surgery.

The incidence of gastric cancer in the last decades has declined rapidly in the industrialised countries. Worldwide, however, gastric cancer is still the second most common cause of cancer death. Although surgery is currently the most effective treatment, the rapid progress in adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy requires a re-evaluation of prognosis assessment. The TNM staging system of the UICC is ubiquitously used; it groups patients by decreasing survival times from stage I to stage IV based on the spread of disease, i.e. depth of tumour penetration (T), extent of spread to lymph nodes (N), and the presence or absence of distant (M) metastases. This is by far the most consistent prognostic classification system today. However, even within the stage groups there are patients that follow a varying course of disease. Our knowledge of the molecular differences between tumours of the same stage and morphology has been accumulating over the years and methods for a more accurate assessment of the phenotype of neoplasias are of value when evaluating the prognosis of individual patients with gastric cancer.

In this study, the immunohistochemical expression of tumour markers involved in different phases in tumourigenesis was examined. The aim was to find new markers which could provide prognostic information in addition to what is provided by the TNM variables. A total of 337 specimens from the primary tumour of patients who underwent surgery for gastric cancer were collected and the immunohistochemical expression of seven different biomarkers was analysed. DNA ploidy and S-phase fraction (SPF) was assessed by flow cytometry. Finally, all biomarkers and clinicopathological prognostic factors were combined and evaluated by a multivariate Cox regression model to elucidate which specific factors provide independent prognostic information.

By univariate survival analysis the following variables were significant prognostic factors: epithelial and stromal syndecan-1 expression, stromal tenascin-C expression, expression of tumour-associated trypsin inhibitor (TATI) in cancer cells, nuclear p53 expression, nuclear p21 expression, DNA ploidy, and SPF. By multivariate survival analysis adjusted for all available clinicopathological and biomolecular variables, p53 expression, p21 expression, and DNA ploidy emerged as independent prognostic biomarkers, together with penetration depth of the tumour, presence of nodal metastases, surgical cure of the cancer, and age of the patient at the time of diagnosis.

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Last updated 20.04.2006

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