Identification of CD146 expression, angiogenesis, and lymphangiogenesis as progression, metastasis, and poor-prognosis related markers for gallbladder adenocarcinoma.
ABSTRACT Gallbladder cancers (GBC) are associated with high disease-specific mortality rates because of no means of early detection and effective therapies. In this study, we investigated CD146 expression, microvessel densities, and lymph vessel densities in 108 adenocarcinomas, 15 gallbladder polyps, 35 chronic cholecystitis tissues, and 46 peritumoral tissues using immunohistochemistry. We demonstrated that positive CD146 expression, and average microvessel and lymph vessel counts in gallbladder adenocarcinomas were significantly higher than those in peritumoral tissues, polyps, and chronic cholecystitis (ps < 0.01). Positive CD146 expression, and average microvessel and lymph vessel counts were also significantly lower in cases with well-differentiated adenocarcinoma, maximal tumor diameter <2 cm, no metastasis of lymph node, and no invasion of regional tissues than in cases with poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma, maximal tumor diameter ≥ 2 cm, metastasis in lymph nodes, and invasion of regional tissues (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01). Univariate Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that increased expression of CD146 (p = 0.056), higher average microvessel counts (p < 0.05), and lymph vessel counts (p < 0.05) were associated with decreased overall survival. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that average microvessel and lymph vessel counts (ps < 0.05) were independent prognostic predictors in gallbladder adenocarcinoma. Our study suggested that the elevated expression of CD146, angiogenesis, and lymphangiogenesis might be closely related to progression, invasion, metastasis, and prognosis of gallbladder adenocarcinoma.