Molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of gastric carcinoma: Interactions between genetic alterations, cellular phenotype and cancer histotype

R. Fiocca, O. Luinetti, L. Villani, L. Mastracci, P. Quilici, F. Grillo, G. N. Ranzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gastric cancer develops through the accumulation of multiple genetic lesions that involve oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes and DNA mismatch repair genes. Lauren's classification of gastric carcinoma does not correlate with cellular phenotypes expressed by neoplastic cells and gastric and intestinal cell differentiation markers are widely expressed in both types (intestinal and diffuse) of gastric carcinoma. In contrast, the study of the correlation between morphologic events and genetic alterations, which come about in the cancerogenetic process, seems to indicate the existence of distinct cancerogenetic pathways for the intestinal (or glandular) and diffuse type carcinoma, both originating from a HP-positive gastritis. In particular there seem to be three different profiles of cancerogenesis: 1) p53 mutations which accompany the onset of dysplasia and intestinal-type carcinoma; 2) DNA repair mechanism alterations conditioning microsatellite instability, seem mutually exclusive with regards to p53 mutations. Microsatellite instability correlates with antrally located intestinal-type carcinoma, with little metastatic tendency and a better prognosis; microsatellite instability frequently involves the TGFβ RII, IGF II R genes or the BAX proapoptotic gene, in as much as these contain microsatellite sequences; 3) alterations of E-cadherin, both with regards to mutations and abnormal expression. These lead to junctional and cell polarity loss and are primarily associated with diffuse type carcinoma, which is characterized by poorly cohesive neoplastic cells. Some tumors, initially arising as intestinal-type (glandular structure), acquire a mixed histotype during neoplastic progression, in which both the typical alterations of the intestinal cancerogenesis (p53, microsatellite instability) and those of the diffuse carcinoma (E-cadherin) coexist. The identification of a mixed histotype could have importance both in epidemiologic, pathogenetic and prognostic terms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1523-1530
Number of pages8
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Gastric carcinoma
  • Genetic alterations
  • Histotype
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of gastric carcinoma: Interactions between genetic alterations, cellular phenotype and cancer histotype'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this