n South African Journal of Surgery - A morphological and immunohistochemical evaluation of gastric carcinoma in the Western Cape province of South Africa : original article

Volume 54, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Gastric resections for carcinoma are common, but gastric carcinoma in South Africa, and particularly within the Western Cape province, has not been well documented.

The objective of the study was to immunohistochemically evaluate HER2/neu overexpression, determine aberrations in β-catenin and epithelial-cadherin (E-cadherin) expression, and correlate these findings with gastric carcinoma subtypes.
Ninety-seven gastric adenocarcinoma resections were morphologically categorised as intestinal-, diffuse- or mixed-type adenocarcinomas, and immunohistochemically stained for β-catenin, E-cadherin (extracellular and cytoplasmic domains) and HER2/neu. The results of staining were compared between the subtypes for statistically significant differences. All 97 cases were confirmed as gastric adenocarcinomas, with 39 (40%) intestinal-type, 51 (53%) diffuse-type, and 7 (7%) mixed-type tumours identified. Patient ages ranged from 18-84 years. HER2/neu was overexpressed in 12 (12%) cases, with intestinal-type morphology (p = 0.017) reported in nine. Fourteen cases (14%) demonstrated abnormal β-catenin localisation. Aberrant E-cadherin (extracellular domain) localisation occurred in 36 (37%) cases. Diffuse-type morphology was associated with a significantly high proportion (p = ≤ 0.001). Aberrant E-cadherin (cytoplasmic domain) localisation occurred in 7 (7%) cases. A significantly high proportion (six of these cases) (p = 0.023) of these was diffuse-type morphology. Eleven (11%) adenocarcinomas occurred in patients aged ≤ 40 years, with intestinal morphology reported in nine of these 11. Aberrant E-cadherin (extracellular domain) localisation was noted in seven of the 11, a significantly high proportion when compared to that in the older patients (p = 0.025).
Distinct immunomorphological correlations are apparent in tumours demonstrating HER2/neu overexpression or abnormal E-cadherin localisation. Intestinal morphology, poor differentiation and E-cadherin abnormalities are frequently demonstrated in tumours occurring in younger individuals.

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