Loss of Smad4 Protein Expression Occurs Infrequently in Endometrial Carcinomas

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Summary:Smad4 is a member of the Smad proteins, which are needed for mediating signals of transforming growth factor β from the cell surface to the nucleus. Smad4 is also a tumor suppressor gene for cancers of the pancreas, colon, and lung. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and prognostic significance of this gene product in endometrial cancer. Immunohistochemical staining for Smad4 was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of endometrial tumors with an anti-Smad4 monoclonal antibody (clone B8): 97 primary endometrial carcinomas, 20 cases of endometrial hyperplasia, and 26 cases of metastases from endometrial carcinoma. The immunoreactivity of each tumor was correlated with the clinical and histopathologic parameters of the patients. Diffusely positive expression of Smad4 protein was detected in all 20 cases of endometrial hyperplasia and in most of the primary and metastatic endometrial cancers. The frequency of positive expression decreased progressively with tumor grade. Clinically, however, it was not associated with tumor progression, nor did it predict patient outcome. Although loss of heterozygosity at chromosome 18q21 (the location of the Smad4 gene) is frequent in endometrial carcinomas, the authors show in this immunohistochemical study that inactivation of this gene occurs infrequently in this tumor.

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