Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) are associated with poor prognosis in numerous human cancers and play important roles in tumor progression. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) contributes to invasion and metastasis in cancer. However, the associations between TAMs and EMT are not clear in gastric cancer (GC). The present study was designed to investigate the effects of TAMs on EMT in human GC.
TAMs marker CD68 and EMT-related proteins were detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in human GC tissues and their clinical significance were evaluated.
A high level of infiltration of TAMs was associated with aggressive characteristics of tumor and an independent poor prognostic factor in human GC tissues. Infiltration of TAMs was also associated with EMT-related proteins in human GC tissues.
Our findings suggest that the high level of infiltration TAMs was associated with aggressive features of GC and is an independent poor prognostic factor in GC patients. TAMs are associated with EMT induction in human GC tissues. The level of TAMs infiltration may be used as a prognostic factor and even a therapeutic target in GC.