Prognostic significance of leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5, an intestinal stem cell marker, in gastric carcinomas
BACKGROUND Gastric carcinoma is the third most common malignancy and is one of the main causes of cancer deaths worldwide. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a subpopulation of tumour cells capable of self-renewal and differentiation, likely responsible for the initiation, recurrence, metastasis and chemo/radio-resistance. OBJECTIVE This study was conducted to evaluate the expression patterns and clinicopathologic significance of putative CSC markers, Lgr5 and DCLK1, in gastric carcinoma. METHOD The expression levels of Lgr5 and DCLK1 were examined in a well-defined series of gastric carcinoma tissues, including 75 (80%) from intestinal and 19 (20%) from diffuse subtypes, using tissue microarray (TMA). In addition, the correlation of the expression of these markers with clinicopathological factors was explored. RESULTS Higher expressions of Lgr5 and DCLK1 were mainly detected in intestinal subtypes of gastric carcinomas compared to diffuse subtypes (P= 0.005 and P= 0.050, respectively). We also found a higher expression of Lgr5 and DCLK1 more frequently in well-differentiated gastric carcinoma cases (P< 0.001 and P= 0.007). The combined analysis demonstrated that the co-expression of Lgr5 and DCLK1 (Lgr5High/DCLK1High) was more common in intestinal subtypes (P= 0.025) and well-differentiated gastric carcinoma samples (P< 0.001). Interestingly, there was a significant correlation between Lgr5High/DCLK1High phenotype and early-stage gastric carcinoma specimens (P= 0.045). CONCLUSION Our findings indicated that the Lgr5High/DCLK1High expression pattern may be considered as a signature phenotype for intestinal subtypes of gastric carcinoma.