Author(s): Tamura G
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Abstract The development and progression of gastric cancer involves a number of genetic and epigenetic alterations of tumor suppressor and tumor-related genes. The majority of differentiated carcinomas arise from intestinal metaplastic mucosa and exhibit structurally altered tumor suppressor genes, typified by p53, which is inactivated via the classic two-hit mechanism, i.e. loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and mutation of the remaining allele. LOH at certain chromosomal loci accumulates during tumor progression. Approximately 20\% of differentiated carcinomas show evidence of mutator pathway tumorigenesis due to hMLH1 inactivation via hypermethylation of promoter CpG islands, and exhibit high-frequency microsatellite instability. In contrast, undifferentiated carcinomas rarely exhibit structurally altered tumor suppressor genes. For instance, while methylation of E-cadherin is often observed in undifferentiated carcinomas, mutation of this gene is generally associated with the progression from differentiated to undifferentiated carcinomas. Hypermethylation of tumor suppressor and tumor-related genes, including APC, CHFR, DAP-kinase, DCC, E-cadherin, GSTP1, hMLH1, p16, PTEN, RASSF1A, RUNX3, and TSLC1, can be detected in both differentiated and undifferentiated carcinomas at varying frequencies. However, the significance of the hypermethylation varies according to the analyzed genomic region, and hypermethylation of these genes can also be present in non-neoplastic gastric epithelia. Promoter demethylation of specific genes, such as MAGE and synuclein Y, can occur during the progressive stages of both histological types, and is associated with patient prognosis. Thus, while the molecular pathways of gastric carcinogenesis are dependent on histological background, specific genetic alterations can still be used for risk assessment, diagnosis, and prognosis.
This article was published in World J Gastroenterol
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology