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Expression of Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule in Gallbladder Carcinoma and Its Correlation With Clinicopathologic Variables

Sagit Prince MD, Aliza Zeidman MD, Yoram Dekel MD, Edward Ram MD, Rumelia Koren MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/H8JEEAEB69J3KYND 424-429 First published online: 1 March 2008


Gallbladder carcinoma is rare and fatal, and conventional therapies have been disappointing. Epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) serves as a prognostic marker in various carcinomas and is a target of antibody-based therapies. Our purpose was to examine the expression of EpCAM in gallbladder carcinomas in relation to tumor grade, disease stage, and patient survival.

Gallbladder carcinoma tissue specimens from 25 patients attending our center between 1991 and 2004 were immunohistochemically stained for EpCAM. The intensity and extent of staining were analyzed, and the specimens were classified accordingly: (1) weak, weak or no EpCAM expression in less than 10% of the selected area; (2) moderate, moderate expression in 10% to 49% of the selected area; or (3) strong, heavy staining in 50% or more of the selected area. The correlation between EpCAM expression and clinicopathologic variables was analyzed statistically.

EpCAM overexpression predicted decreased survival (P = .005), but EpCAM expression did not correlate with tumor grade (P = .28) or disease stage (P = .10). EpCAM expression in gallbladder tumors may serve as a prognostic factor for poor survival. Its detection may help clinicians select patients likely to benefit from novel molecular therapies.

Key Words:
  • Gallbladder
  • Carcinoma
  • Epithelial cell adhesion molecule