Expression of Fhit, cell adhesion molecules and matrix metalloproteinases in atypical adenomatous hyperplasia and pulmonary adenocarcinoma

K.m. Kerr, S. J. MacKenzie, Graeme Ian Murray, M. C. Nicolson, George King, S. Ramasami, N. Fyfe, Andrea .d. Chapman

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Invasive parenchymal-type lung adenocarcinoma develops from atypical adenomatous hyperplasia (AAH), through an intermediate in situ stage of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC). We examined the expression of the putative tumour suppressor gene product Fhit, cell adhesion molecules CD44v6, E-cadherin and beta-catenin, and matrix metalloproteinase 2 and its inhibitor, TIMP-2, in a range of AAH lesions, BACs and invasive adenocarcinomas, to determine the changes in molecular expression associated with this form of neoplastic progression. Sections of formalin-fixed wax-embedded archival tissue were stained by standard Immunohistochemical techniques and scored semi-quantitatively, resulting in a grading of negative/low- or high-level staining. Fhit protein was retained at high levels in over 90% of AAH and 83% of BAC, but was found in only 6% of stromally invasive tumours (p < 0.0001). CD44v6 staining was high-level in 64% of AAH but fell to 26% in stromally invasive tumour (p = 0.007). E-cadherin and beta-catenin showed the opposite, with more highlevel staining as adenocarcinoma developed (p < 0.001). High-level MMP-2 and TIMP-2 expression was relatively infrequent in AAH (32% and 40% respectively), rose in BAC (89% each) but fell in stromally invasive tumour (31% and 17% respectively) (P < 0.01). Unlike in central bronchial carcinogenesis, loss of Fhit expression is a relatively late event in this putative progression of lung adenocarcinogenesis, and has potential as a surrogate marker of invasion, which could be of value in screening patients for lung cancer. Loss of CD44v6 expression follows the convention of failing adhesion molecule expression as malignancy develops. Increased expression of E-cadherin and beta-catenin may reflect increased cell-cell contact as tissue architecture changes in the transition from AAH to adenocarcinoma. Loss of MMP-2 and TIMP-2 in stromally invasive tumour may reflect a particular role for MMP-2 at the BAC stage, with later down-regulation of this particular enzyme. Copyright (C) 2004 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-644
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • lung cancer
  • pre-invasive lesions
  • adenocarcinoma
  • bronchioloalveolar carcinoma
  • atypical adenomatous hyperplasia
  • Fhit
  • MMP
  • E-cadherin
  • beta-catenin
  • adhesion molecules


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