Down-regulation of E-cadherin, an intercellular adhesion molecule, and up-regulation of autocrine motility factor receptor (gp78) expressions have been shown to play a role in tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Monoclonal antibodies against E-cadherin and gp78 were used to stain serial snap-frozen sections of 12 normal bladder and 83 bladder carcinoma specimens (27 noninvasive, 53 invasive, and 3 metastases). In normal urothelium, E-cadherin is expressed while gp78 is not. Positive expression of E-cadherin and negative expression of gp78 were found to be associated with a low risk of clinical progression in the superficial bladder carcinoma patient group. While reduction in E-cadherin concomitantly with an increase in gp78 expression was associated with poor prognosis, 71% of the patients (n = 30) underwent rapid cancer progression, and 32% of the patients died of cancer-related disease at a median of 2 years after initial diagnosis. Thus, it is suggested that reduction of E-cadherin expression associated with an increase in the level of gp78 in bladder cancers may define a high risk group of patients. The dual use of these two antigens may improve early diagnosis of high risk bladder cancer patients and influence treatment decisions.


This work was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft SFB 354 (to T. O., W. B., and H. R.), the Wilhelm Sander-Stiftung (to W. B.), and in part by USPHS Grant 51714 from the National Cancer Institute and the Paul Zuckerman Support Foundation for Cancer Research (to A. R.).

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