Aberrant expression of cadherins is known to be associated with tumor aggression. However, their role in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC) is not well elucidated. This study investigated the expression of epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin), neural cadherin (N-cadherin), and placental cadherin (P-cadherin) in CCRCC, and assessed their prognostic significance and clinicopathologic association.
Materials and Methods:
We enrolled 254 patients with CCRCC who underwent radical or partial nephrectomy. E-cadherin, N-cadherin, and P-cadherin expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in a tissue microarray.
Low E-cadherin expression was associated with larger tumor size, lymphovascular invasion, higher pT stage, lymph node and distant metastasis, and higher stage. High N-cadherin expression was significantly associated with larger tumor size, higher nuclear grade, and tumor necrosis. P-cadherin expression was found to be significantly associated with higher nuclear grade, distant metastasis, and higher stage. Univariate analysis revealed that aberrant expression of the 3 cadherins was significantly related to shorter overall survival (OS). Loss of E-cadherin, high P-cadherin expression, and higher stage were independent prognostic factors for OS. For recurrence-free survival, lymphovascular invasion, high P-cadherin expression, and higher stage were independent prognostic factors. Cadherin switch was significantly associated with aggressive clinicopathologic factors and poor outcomes.
Aberrant expression of E-cadherin, N-cadherin, and P-cadherin was associated with adverse clinicopathologic factors and worse OS. Low E-cadherin and high P-cadherin expression were significantly associated with distant metastasis and independent prognostic factors. Therefore, cadherin expression may be used as a prognostic marker and therapeutic target, and cadherin switch plays an important role in CCRCC progression.