Desmoglein 3 as a prognostic factor in lung cancer
Desmoglein 3 is a desmosomal protein of the cadherin family. Our cDNA expression profile demonstrated that desmoglein 3 was highly expressed in squamous cell carcinoma of the lung but not detected in pulmonary adenocarcinoma or normal lung. To investigate the clinical significance of desmoglein 3 in lung cancer, we surveyed its expression in primary non-small-cell lung cancers and neuroendocrine tumors. We used immunohistochemical analysis to examine the expression of desmoglein 3 by using tissue microarrays containing samples from 300 surgical non-small-cell lung cancer and 183 lung neuroendocrine tumor. Staining status was determined based on the sum of the distribution score (0, 1, or 2) and the intensity score (0, 1, 2, or 3) of the staining signal. Follow-up was available for 346 cases (median follow-up of 2.8 years). We determined the survival statistical significance of desmoglein 3 by using the log-rank test, and we plotted Kaplan-Meier curves. Negative immunohistochemical staining with desmoglein 3 was associated with shorter survival for all lung cancer patients regardless of the histologic subtype (5-year survival of 20.9% versus 49.5%, P < .001) in our series. In patients with atypical carcinoid tumors, lacking desmoglein 3 expression showed a 5-year survival of 0% compared with 36.8% for desmoglein 3-positive cases (P < .001). Desmoglein 3 status indicated a poor prognosis in lung cancers and portends a more aggressive behavior for atypical carcinoid tumors.