Expression of β-dystroglycan is reduced or absent in many human carcinomas
Article first published online: 24 OCT 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Limited
Volume 53, Issue 5, pages 561–566, November 2008
How to Cite
Cross, S. S., Lippitt, J., Mitchell, A., Hollingsbury, F., Balasubramanian, S. P., Reed, M. W. R., Eaton, C., Catto, J. W., Hamdy, F. and Winder, S. J. (2008), Expression of β-dystroglycan is reduced or absent in many human carcinomas. Histopathology, 53: 561–566. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2008.03157.x
- Issue published online: 24 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 24 OCT 2008
- Date of submission 28 March 2008 Accepted for publication 16 May 2008
- cell adhesion;
Aims: Dystroglycan is an important structural and signalling protein that is expressed in most human cells. α-Dystroglycan has been investigated and found to be reduced in human cancers, but there is only one published study on the expression of β-dystroglycan in human cancer and that was only on small numbers of breast and prostatic cancers. The aim was to conduct a comprehensive immunohistochemical survey of the expression of β-dystroglycan in normal human tissues and common cancers.
Methods and results: Triplicate tissue microarrays of 681 samples of normal human tissues and common cancers were stained using an antibody directed against the cytoplasmic component of β-dystroglycan. β-Dystroglycan was strongly expressed at the intercellular junctions and basement membranes of all normal human epithelia. Expression of β-dystroglycan was absent or markedly reduced in 100% of oesophageal adenocarcinomas, 97% of colonic cancers, 100% of transitional cell carcinomas of the urothelium and 94% of breast cancers. In the breast cancers, the only tumours that showed any retention of β-dystroglycan expression were small low-grade oestrogen receptor-positive tumours. The only cancers that showed retention of β-dystroglycan expression were cutaneous basal cell carcinomas.
Conclusions: There is loss or marked reduction of β-dystroglycan expression (by immunohistochemistry) in the vast majority of human cancers surveyed. Since β-dystroglycan is postulated to have a tumour suppressor effect, this loss may have important functional significance.