Lewis Y antigen expression and postoperative survival in non–small cell lung cancer

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In contrast to other Lewis blood group-related antigens, Lewis Y antigen (LeY) has not been fully investigated in non–small cell lung cancer.


To assess the significance of LeY expression, 236 patients with completely resected pathologic stage 1–3a were reviewed with immunohistochemical analysis.


LeY expression was positive in 179 patients (75.8%). In poorly differentiated cancer, percentage of LeY-positive patients was lower than in moderately to well-differentiated cancer (67.2% versus 81.2%, p = 0.028). Five-year survival rate of LeY-positive patients was 78.2%, significantly higher than that of LeY-negative patients (59.7%, p = 0.001). Combined with p53 status, differences in survival proved to be marked; 5-year survival rate of patients with positive LeY expression and without aberrant p53 expression, was as high as 83.3%, whereas that of patients with negative LeY expression and with aberrant p53 expression was only 38.4% (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis confirmed that LeY expression was a significant independent factor to predict better survival.


LeY expression is a significant prognostic factor related to grade of cancer differentiation.

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