Neoplastic spindle cells in nasopharyngeal carcinoma show features of epithelial–mesenchymal transition

Authors


  • Key Lab for Transcriptomics and Proteomics of Human Fatal Diseases is supported by Ministry of Education and Guangdong Province.

K-T Yao, Cancer Research Institute, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, 510515, China. e-mail: yao.kaitai@yahoo.cn

Abstract

Luo W-R, Chen X-Y, Li S-Y, Wu A-B & Yao K-T
(2012) Histopathology 61, 113–122

Neoplastic spindle cells in nasopharyngeal carcinoma show features of epithelial–mesenchymal transition

Aim:  To investigate whether the neoplastic spindle cells in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) are associated with the process of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT).

Methods and results:  We used immunohistochemistry to analyse the expression of cytokeratin, E-cadherin, β-catenin, vimentin, fibronectin, Snail1, Slug and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) in 115 cases of NPC in which there were neoplastic spindle cells; in 47 cases a neoplastic squamous cell component was also present. There was no significant difference in the expression of cytokeratin observed in the neoplastic spindle cells (= 0.644), compared to the squamous component whereas E-cadherin expression was reduced. By contrast, the expression of β-catenin, vimentin, fibronectin, Snail1, Slug and ALDH1 was up-regulated in the spindle cells (all = 0.000). Furthermore, E-cadherin expression was associated negatively with β-catenin (P < 0.001), vimentin (P < 0.001), fibronectin (P < 0.001), Slug (P < 0.001) and ALDH1 (P < 0.001) in neoplastic spindle cells, but did not correlate with Snail1 expression (P =0.093).

Conclusions:  Our findings demonstrate for the first time that EMT might play an important role in the development of neoplastic spindle cells in NPC.

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