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Tumor heterogeneity has frequently been observed in gastric cancer (GC), but the correlation between patients' clinico-pathologic features and the tumoral heterogeneity of GC-associated molecules is unclear. We investigated the correlation between lymph node metastasis and the intra-tumoral heterogeneity of driver molecules in GC. We retrospectively analyzed the cases of 504 patients who underwent a gastrectomy at the Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Osaka Metropolitan University and 389 cases drawn from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data. We performed a clustering analysis based on eight cancer-associated molecules including HER2, c-Met, and p-Smad2 using the protein expression revealed by our immunohistochemical study of the patients' and TCGA cases. We determined the correlations between HER2 expression and the other molecules based on the degree of lymph node metastasis. Immunohistochemical staining data showed that a 43 of the 504 patients with GC (8.5%) were HER2-positive. In the HER2-positive cases, the expressions of c-Met and p-Smad2 were increased in accord with the lymph-node metastatic level. The overall survival of the HER2-positive GC patients with both p-Smad2 and c-Met expression was significantly (p = 0.030) poorer than that of the patients with p-Smad2-negative and/or c-Met-negative expression. The results of the TCGA data analysis revealed that 58 of the 389 GC cases (14.9%) were ERBB2-positive. MET expression was more frequent in the N1 metastasis group than the N0 group. In the high lymph-node metastasis (N2 and N3) group, SMAD2 expression was more frequent, as was ERBB2 and MET expression. p-Smad2 and c-Met signaling might play important roles in lymph node metastasis in HER2-positive GC. © 2022. The Author(s).


Gen Tsujio, Koji Maruo, Yurie Yamamoto, Tomohiro Sera, Atsushi Sugimoto, Hiroaki Kasashima, Yuichiro Miki, Mami Yoshii, Tatsuro Tamura, Takahiro Toyokawa, Hiroaki Tanaka, Kazuya Muguruma, Masaichi Ohira, Masakazu Yashiro. Significance of tumor heterogeneity of p-Smad2 and c-Met in HER2-positive gastric carcinoma with lymph node metastasis. BMC cancer. 2022 Jun 01;22(1):598

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PMID: 35650563

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