Apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like 3B (APOBEC3B) is known as a source of mutations in multiple cancers. Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (GEP-NENs) are a group of heterogeneous tumors. However, the expression and significance of APOBEC3B in GEP-NENs remains unclear.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 158 cases of GEP-NENs, including 78 cases of biopsy or endoscopic submucosal dissection resection specimens and 83 cases of surgical resection specimens were collected in this study. The cases were grouped according to tumor classification grade, including 42 cases of neuroendocrine tumors G1 (NET G1), 36 cases of NET G2, 36 cases of NET G3, 44 cases of neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC). All of the 158 tumors were immunohistochemically studied using a polyclonal antibody against APOBEC3B. We evaluated APOBEC3B expression in GEP-NENs and investigated the relationships among the immunoreactivity of APOBEC3B, clinical and pathologic features, such as age, sex, tumor site, Ki67 cell proliferation index, and lymph metastasis.
A total of 33 cases (78.6%) of NET G1 showed high expression of APOBEC3B. A total of 28 cases (77.8%) of NET G2 demonstrated high expression of APOBEC3B. In NET G3 and NEC cases, the positive rates were 52.8% and 2.3%, respectively. The expression of APOBEC3B in NETs was significantly higher than that in NECs, NET G1 and NET G2 were higher than NET G3, and the difference was statistically significant. APOBEC3B high expression cases have lower lymph node metastasis rate, lower Ki67 cell proliferation index.
In this study, APOBEC3B is highly expressed in GEP-NETs and is a predictor of lymph node metastasis in NET G3 and NEC cases. These findings might provide new insights into the biological mechanisms of GEP-NENs tumorigenesis and progression.