MUC1 (episialin) expression in non-small cell lung cancer is independent of EGFR and c-erbB-2 expression and correlates with poor survival in node positive patients.
Guddo F., Giatromanolaki A., Koukourakis MI., Reina C., Vignola AM., Chlouverakis G., Hilkens J., Gatter KC., Harris AL., Bonsignore G.
AIM: To examine tumour samples immunohistochemically for MUC1 (episialin), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and c-erbB-2, since the disruption of the cell-cell adhesion system by MUC1 and the c-erbB oncoprotein family is known to be important in the development of metastasis in human cancers. METHODS: 93 tumour samples from patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer treated with surgery alone were examined for episialin, EGFR, and c-erbB-2. RESULTS: Episialin depolarised expression did not correlate with any of the histopathological variables examined (T,N stage, grade, histology, Ki67 proliferation index). No correlation was observed between episialin and EGFR or c-erbB-2 expression. Survival analysis showed that episialin depolarised expression correlated with poor prognosis (p = 0.003), especially in squamous cell cases (p = 0.0003). Episialin expression defined a group of patients with poor prognosis in the node positive category (p = 0.003). In multivariate analysis episialin was the most significant independent prognostic factor (p = 0.007), followed by N stage (p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Depolarised expression of episialin is associated with poor outcome in early stage non-small cell lung cancer. Despite the similar activity on the cadherin cell-cell adhesion system, the expression of episialin and c-erbB oncoproteins is likely to be activated within different pathogenic pathways.