Expression of the nm23 homologues nm23-H4, nm23-H6, and nm23-H7 in human gastric and colon cancer



Eight members of the nm23-gene family have been described. The involvement of nm23-H1 and nm23-H2 in tumour progression and metastasis, as well as in gene regulation and apoptosis, has been shown in numerous studies. Whether nm23-H4, -H6, and -H7 play a role in tumours is, however, largely unknown. This study describes data on the expression of these three nm23 homologues in human colon and gastric cancer by real-time RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Increased expression of these genes, most strikingly nm23-H4 and -H7, was observed in the majority of tumours analysed. No correlation with tumour stage according to the TNM classification was found. In contrast, by immunohistochemical analysis, nm23-H4 and -H6 overexpression correlated with the intestinal tumour type in gastric cancer tissues, whereas no increased immunoreactivity for the three nm23 proteins was noted in the diffuse type tumour specimens. These findings indicate that nm23-H6, and particularly nm23-H4 and -H7, may be involved in the development of colon and gastric carcinoma, the latter possibly in a type-specific manner. A contribution to tumour progression or metastasis could not, however, be proven. Elucidation of the specific mechanisms by which the nm23 homologues nm23-H4, -H6, and -H7 are involved in tumour development requires further studies. Copyright © 2005 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.