The expression of gastrointestinal differentiation markers is associated with the tumorigenesis and prognosis of digestive cancers. However, little is known about the significance of gastrointestinal differentiation marker profiles in patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), which is classified as perihilar and distal CCA. The purpose of this study was to clarify the role of gastrointestinal differentiation marker expression in extrahepatic CCA based on tumor location. We examined the expression of gastrointestinal differentiation markers in resected perihilar (n = 30) and distal (n = 54) CCAs based on the immunohistochemical expression of the following markers: MUC2, MUC5AC, MUC6, CD10, CDX-2, and cytokeratin 20. Expression scores were determined semiquantitatively based on the rate of positively stained cells. Furthermore, we performed hierarchical clustering of the CCAs based on the immunohistochemical expression scores to evaluate differences in the expression patterns of the 6 gastrointestinal differentiation markers. Consequently, perihilar and distal CCAs were stratified into 2 subgroups each. Among the perihilar CCAs, subgroup 1 was characterized by lower expression of MUC5AC and MUC6, a larger median tumor size, and a significantly worse prognosis compared with subgroup 2. Furthermore, the immunohistological subgroup (subgroup 1 versus 2) and TNM stage (stage III versus II) were independent predictors of patient survival. Among the distal CCAs, subgroup 1 was characterized by lower expression of MUC5AC compared with subgroup 2. We suggest that gastrointestinal differentiation marker profiles are useful for stratifying perihilar and distal CCAs. In addition, gastrointestinal differentiation markers play a crucial role in tumor development, particularly in perihilar CCA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes