Pancreatic duct cell carcinomas express high levels of high mobility group I(Y) proteins

Nobutsugu Abe, Takashi Watanabe, Tadahiko Masaki, Toshiyuki Mori, Masanori Sugiyama, Hidemasa Uchimura, Yasunori Fujioka, Gennaro Chiappetta, Alfredo Fusco, Yutaka Atomi

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The high mobility group I (HMGI) family of proteins in mammals belongs to a group of nonhistone nuclear proteins known as architectural transcriptional factors. They function in vivo as both structural components of chromatin and auxiliary gene transcription factors. In an earlier study (N. Abe et al., Cancer Res., 59: 1169-1174, 1999), we demonstrated that the expression level of the HMGI(Y) gene/proteins was significantly increased in colorectal adenocarcinoma and colorectal adenoma with severe cellular atypia. In the current study, we analyzed HMGI(Y) expression in several human pancreatic lesions to investigate (a) whether HMGI(Y) overexpression is also observed in pancreatic carcinoma, and (b) the role of HMGI(Y) in the diagnosis of pancreatic neoplasms. To this end, HMGI(Y) expression was determined at the protein level by immunohistochemistry using a HMGI(Y)- specific antibody in 6 surgically resected specimens of nonneoplastic tissue (4 specimens of normal pancreatic tissue and 2 specimens of chronic pancreatitis tissue), 8 pancreatic cystic neoplasms (5 intraductal papillary mucinous adenomas, 1 serous cystadenoma, and 2 solid pseudopapillary tumors), and 15 duct cell carcinomas of the pancreas. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed intense nuclear staining in the pancreatic carcinoma cells, whereas only very faint nuclear staining was seen in the nonneoplastic cells. There was a strong correlation between HMGI(Y) protein overexpression and a diagnosis of carcinoma (P = 0.000018). Thus, an increased expression level of the HMGI(Y) proteins was clearly associated with the malignant phenotype in pancreatic tissue. In addition, a low level of protein expression was also apparent in two of the cystic neoplasms that exhibited cellular atypia, but not in those that did not exhibit cellular atypia. Based on these findings, we propose that the HMGI(Y) proteins could be closely associated with tumorigenesis in the pancreas and that HMGI(Y) could serve as a potential diagnostic molecular marker for distinguishing pancreatic malignancies unambiguously from normal tissue or benign lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3117-3122
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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