Deleted in malignant brain tumours 1 (DMBT1) exerts functions in the regulation of epithelial differentiation and inflammation and has been proposed as a tumour suppressor. Because chronic inflammation is a hallmark of cholangiocarcinogenesis, the aim of this study was to investigate the expression of DMBT1 in biliary tract cancer (BTC) and to correlate this expression with clinicopathological data.Methods and results:
The expression of DMBT1 protein was examined immunohistochemically in 157 BTC patients [41 intrahepatic (ICC), 60 extrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas (ECC) and 56 adenocarcinomas of the gallbladder (GBAC)]. Additionally, 56 samples of high-grade biliary intraepithelial neoplasia (BilIN 3) and 92 corresponding samples of histological non-neoplastic biliary tract tissues were included. DMBT1 expression was increased significantly in BilIN 3 compared to normal tissue (P < 0.0001) and BTC (P < 0.0001). BTC showed no significant difference in DMBT1 expression compared to non-neoplastic biliary tissue (P = 0.315). Absent DMBT1 expression in non-neoplastic biliary tissue of BTC patients was associated with poorer survival (P = 0.027). DMBT1 expression was correlated significantly with patients’ age (P < 0.001).Conclusion:
DMBT1 is expressed differently in cholangiocarcinogenesis and poorer patients’ survival rates are associated with absent DMBT1 expression in non-neoplastic biliary tissue, suggesting a tumour-suppressive role of DMBT1 in early cholangiocarcinogenesis.