The diagnosis of gastric epithelial dysplasia, a precursor lesion of gastric adenocarcinoma, is hindered by interobserver variability and by its resemblance to regenerative changes. Loss of cell polarity, a histological feature of gastric epithelial dysplasia, may be difficult to ascertain, especially in the setting of inflammation or injury. A biomarker of cell polarity could be useful in diagnosis of dysplasia, but has not been reported. The Lethal giant larvae (lgl) gene controls apical-basal polarity of epithelial cells in Drosophila, and has properties of a tumor-suppressor gene. Two homologs, lgl1 and lgl2, are present in mammals and lgl2 mRNA is highly expressed in the stomach. The goal of our study was to test the hypothesis that Lgl2 protein expression and/or localization are disrupted in gastric epithelial dysplasia and adenocarcinoma. Routinely processed pathology specimens including 94 benign mucosae of digestive organs, in addition to 36 reactive gastropathy, 57 gastric epithelial dysplasia, and 77 gastric adenocarcinomas, were immunostained for Lgl2 protein. All normal, reactive, and chronically inflamed gastric epithelia showed basolateral Lgl2 staining. Normal esophageal, duodenal, colonic, biliary, and pancreatic duct mucosae, as well as gastric intestinal metaplasia, did not express Lgl2. All but one case each of gastric epithelial dysplasia and adenocarcinoma showed either complete loss of anti-Lgl2 immunoreactivity or diffuse, mostly weak, cytoplasmic staining. Complete loss of immunoreactivity was significantly more often observed in diffuse-type than in intestinal-type adenocarcinomas (79 vs 48%, respectively). Our data suggest that Lgl2 expression is either aberrantly localized or lost in gastric epithelial dysplasia and adenocarcinoma, whereas it is maintained in reactive gastric mucosa. We propose that Lgl2 may be a potential marker to rule out gastric epithelial dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in diagnostic specimens. However, the consistently negative anti-Lgl2 immunoreactivity seen in intestinal metaplasia does not allow differentiation of dysplasia from intestinal metaplasia with reactive change.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephen_baker/91/