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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Variable copy number of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) predicts worse prognosis in advanced gastric cancer patients

Guanjun Zhang1, Yiping Qu2, Siwen Dang2, Qi Yang2, Bingyin Shi2 and Peng Hou2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Xi’an 710061, the People’s Republic of China

2 Department of Endocrinology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Xi’an 710061, the People’s Republic of China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:173  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-173

Published: 21 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Change of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number is widely reported in various human cancers, including gastric cancer, and is considered to be an important hallmark of cancers. However, there is remarkably little consensus on the value of variable mtDNA content in the prognostic evaluation of this cancer.

Methods

Using real-time quantitative PCR approach, we examined mtDNA copy number in a cohort of gastric cancers and normal gastric tissues, and explored the association of variable mtDNA content with clinical outcomes of gastric cancer patients.

Results

Our data showed that the majority of gastric cancer patients had low mtDNA content as compared to control subjects although the relative mean mtDNA content was higher in the former than the latter. Moreover, we found that variable mtDNA content was strongly associated with lymph node metastasis and cancer-related death of the patients with late-stage tumors. Notably, variable mtDNA content did not affect overall survival of gastric cancer patients, however, we found that increased mtDNA content was associated with poor survival in the patients with late-stage tumors.

Conclusion

In this study, we demonstrated that variable mtDNA content markedly increased the risk of lymph node metastasis and high mortality of the patients with late-stage tumors. Additionally, we found a strong link between increased mtDNA content and worse survival of the patients with late-stage tumors. Taken together, variable mtDNA content may be a valuable poor prognostic factor for advanced gastric cancer patients.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1344721463103353 webcite.

Keywords:
Gastric cancer; Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA); Copy number; Real-time quantitative PCR; Clinical outcomes