N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V) is an enzyme that catalyses β1-6 branching of N-acetylglucosamine on asparagine-linked oligosaccharides of cell proteins. The present study aimed to investigate GnT-V expression and its prognostic significance in endometrial cancer. N- acetylglucosaminyltransferase V expression was studied by immunohistochemistry in 74 surgically resected endometrial cancers, and the staining intensity was evaluated. High GnT-V expression in tumour cells was found in 43 (58.1%) of the 74 cases, and was positively correlated with advanced patient age, histological grade, and lymph vascular space involvement. Patients with high GnT-V expression had significantly impaired overall survival and progression-free survival (PFS) (P=0.0041 and P=0.0023, respectively) compared to patients with low expression of GnT-V. On multivariate analysis, GnT-V expression was an independent prognostic factor for PFS (P=0.0364). β1-6 branching of asparagine-linked oligosaccharides was also detected in GnT-V-positive endometrial cancer cells by leukoagglutinating phytohaemagglutinin (L4-PHA) staining, and the molecular size of the major glycoproteins recognised by L4-PHA was approximately 60-200 kDa by lectin blot analysis. These results suggested that high GnT-V expression was correlated with an unfavourable clinical outcome, and that GnT-V is involved in the malignant potential of endometrial cancer by increasing the synthesis of β1-6 branching of asparagine-linked oligosaccharides.
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