Published on February 18, 2013 at 3:38 AM
In the work now published Corso and Carvalho started by looking for E-cadherin somatic changes in all GC patients. Remarkably, it was found that as much as a third of patients had them. The patients were then divided in 3 groups: those with no changes in E-cadherin, those with structural changes (when there are abnormalities in the E-cadherin chromosome itself) and finally those patients with functional alterations but an intact chromosomal structure.
These new groups showed different patterns of disease what is extremely promising for the development of therapies and needs to be further investigated.
The most interesting finding, though, was that patients with structural abnormalities had the worse prognoses, especially those presenting familial intestinal GC - none of them surviving more than 5 years after removal of the tumour. This is not only important because it marks these patients as those that need more radical and urgent care, but also because the current paradigm is that intestinal tumours have the best survival chance.
Also interesting was the discovery that individuals with functional anomalies often had diffuse GC with metastases in the lymph node. This suggests that once this abnormality is detected nodes' removal should be a priority to stop disease from spreading.
Corso and Carvalho' work reveals how different abnormalities in E-cadherin are linked to different types of gastric cancer. Although the results need to be reproduced and better understood, this is an important first step to improve patients' management in clinic, particularly to infer the prognosis of GC and the pattern of tumour dissemination, and from that, make the best possible decisions to improve patients' quality of life and even survival. Work supported by Ciência Viva.