Immunophenotypic Profiling of Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer Progression Using the Tissue Microarray Approach

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This study, using tissue microarrays, aimed at the immunomorphologic profiling of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cases to reveal clinically relevant disease groups and biomarkers associated with patients' survival and tumor progression including brain metastatic potential. Donor tissue blocks were form 59 patients, including 33 primary tumors without distant metastasis and 26 brain metastatic primary tumors as well as the brain metastases. Sections were immunostained for 29 markers targeting molecules of cell adhesion, cell growth, cell cycle, and apoptosis regulation. β-Catenin expression was the only independent prognostic marker associated with better outcome. Elevated expression of collagen XVII, CD44v6, and caspase-9, and the reduced production of β-catenin and cellular apoptosis susceptibility protein were significantly associated with the metastatic potential of primary NSCLC. Expression of positive cell cycle regulators cyclin D1 and cyclin D3 was also increased in metastatic primary tumors. Metastatic tumor progression into the brain was accompanied by prominent p16, syndecan-1, p53 (DO7), and caspase-3 protein levels. Hierarchical clustering of complex immunoprofiles based on the differentially expressed markers grouped NSCLCs of the poorest outcome with high correlation including 2/3 of brain metastases of mixed histology. The brain metastatic potential of NSCLCs may be linked to the elevated levels of cyclinD1, cyclinD3, p16, p53, caspase-3, caspase-9, CD44v6, and collagen XVII and the down-regulation of β-catenin and cellular apoptosis susceptibility protein. Unsupervised immunoprofiles based on differentially expressed biomarkers may help selecting lung cancers with aggressive behavior.

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