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Open Access Research

Nuclear beta-catenin overexpression in metastatic sentinel lymph node is associated with synchronous liver metastasis in colorectal cancer

Hongxia Cheng1*, Hui Liang2, Yejun Qin1 and Ying Liu1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan 250021, Shandong, People's Republic of China

2 Department of otolaryngology, Qianfoshan Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan 250014, Shandong, People's Republic of China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6:109  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-109

Published: 4 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Beta-catenin, a component of the Wingless/Wnt signaling pathway, can activate target genes linking with the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene in colorectal cancer. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether nuclear beta-catenin overexpression in metastatic sentinel lymph node(s) [SLN(s)] is associated with synchronous liver metastasis.

Methods

Clinicopathological data from 355 patients (93 cases with liver metastasis and 262 cases without liver metastasis) were reviewed. Beta-catenin expression in metastatic SLN(s) and liver metastatic lesions was examined by immunohistochemistry. The association of nuclear beta-catenin expression in metastatic SLN(s) and liver metastatic lesions was evaluated, and the relationship between nuclear beta-catenin expression and clinicopathological characteristics was analyzed. Finally, univariate and logistic multivariate regression analyses were adopted to discriminate the risk factors of liver metastasis.

Results

Nuclear beta-catenin overexpression in metastatic SLN(s) was observed in 70 patients with liver metastasis and 31 patients without liver metastasis (75.3% vs. 11.8%; P < 0.001). Nuclear beta-catenin expression was noted in all the metastatic lesions. Spearman rank correlation analysis demonstrated that nuclear beta-catenin expression in metastatic SLN(s) had a positive correlation with that in metastatic lesions (r = 0.425, P < 0.001). Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that nuclear beta-catenin overexpression in metastatic SLN(s) correlated with liver metastasis.

Conclusions

Nuclear beta-catenin overexpression in metastatic SLN(s) is strongly associated with liver metastasis and may contribute to predict liver metastasis.

Keywords:
Beta-catenin; Colorectal cancer; Liver metastasis; Sentinel lymph node