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The CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) transcription factor has been associated with several cancer models. In this study, the expression of C/EBPbeta was analysed in a series of 90 gastric carcinomas (GCs). We also assessed the effect of C/EBPbeta on COX-2 expression. In normal gastric mucosa, C/EBPbeta expression was restricted to cells in the proliferative zone. In intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia, and GC of the intestinal and atypical subtypes, C/EBPbeta was over-expressed (p< 0.0001, for the association with histological type). C/EBPbeta and Ki67, a marker of cell proliferation, were also co-expressed in primary GC. We also observed an overlap between C/EBPbeta and COX-2 expression in GC. Using GC cell lines we show that C/EBPbeta can regulate the expression of endogenous COX-2 and transactivate the promoter of theCOX-2gene, depending on its methylation status. These results suggest that C/EBPbeta may be a marker of neoplastic transformation and also play an active role in gastric tumourigenesis by regulating COX-2 expression.