Beclin 1 expression is an independent prognostic factor for gastric carcinomas.
Beclin 1, an important autophagy-related protein in human cells, is involved in autophagy, differentiation, anti-apoptosis, and cancer progression, which is increased during periods of cell stress and extinguished during the cell cycle. In order to clarify the role of Beclin 1 in gastric carcinogenesis and subsequent progression, its expression was examined by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization (ISH) on tissue microarrays containing gastric carcinomas, adjacent non-neoplastic mucosa, and metastatic lymph node. Gastric carcinoma tissue and cell lines were studied for Beclin 1 expression by Western blot or RT-PCR, respectively. The results demonstrated that Beclin 1 was distinctively expressed in GES-1, AGS, BGC-823, GT-3 TKB, HGC-27, KATO-III, MGC-803, MKN28, MKN45, SCH, SGC-7901, or STKM-2 at both mRNA and protein levels. However, Beclin 1 mRNA was highly expressed in gastric carcinoma than matched mucosa by real-time PCR and ISH (P < 0.05). Beclin 1 expression was negatively related to distant metastasis and poor prognosis of gastric carcinoma (P < 0.05). Beclin 1 was highly expressed in male than female patients with gastric carcinoma (P < 0.05). The 65-year-elder patients with gastric carcinoma had higher Beclin 1 expression than the younger ones (P < 0.05). The diffuse-type carcinomas showed less Beclin 1 expression than intestinal- and mixed-type ones (P < 0.05). In intestinal-type gastric carcinoma, Beclin 1 expression was inversely associated with venous invasion, lymph node metastasis, and tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging (P < 0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that Beclin 1 expression was positively linked to favorable prognosis of the patients with overall and intestinal-type carcinoma (P < 0.05). Coxs proportional hazard model indicated that venous invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, TNM staging, and Beclin 1 expression were independent prognostic factors for gastric carcinomas (P < 0.05). It was suggested that aberrant Beclin 1 expression is closely linked to pathogenesis, metastasis, and differentiation of gastric carcinoma. Beclin 1 expression might be employed to indicate the favorable prognosis of gastric carcinomas as an independent factor.