Background: Hepatoid adenocarcinoma of the stomach (HAS) has been recognized as a rare primary gastric tumor characterized by hepatocellular carcinomalike histology. HAS often causes diagnostic confusion with conventional gastric adenocarcinoma (CGA) due to the difficulty to detect hepatoid differentiation solely based on findings from hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. β-catenin is highly expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is involved in the maintenance of tumor initiating cells, drug resistance, tumor progression, and metastasis. Due to the scarcity of confirmed cases of HAS, there are few studies on β-catenin.
Objective: 14 patients diagnosed in our hospital were selected.
Methods: The clinical characteristics of 14 patients were statistically studied, and pathological specimens were analyzed by immunohistochemistry.
Results: We detected statistically significant difference in the expression of β-catenin (P = 0.000), glypican3 (P = 0.019), and hepar-1 (P = 0.007) between HAS cancer tissues and normal tissues. Furthermore, a significant correlation was found between the expression of β-catenin in HAS cancer tissue and normal tissue (Pearson correlation coefficient: 0.686, P = 0.007). Meanwhile, a significant correlation was observed between the expression of β-catenin and survival time (Spearman correlation coefficient= - 0.482, P = 0.003). However, we found the expression of β-catenin did not correlate with the tumor differentiation and size, age, gender, serum AFP levels, microinvasion, and metastasis (P > 0.05).
Conclusion: Our findings establish β-catenin as a useful marker that can distinguish HAS from CGA and may improve the early diagnosis to guide the appropriate and timely treatment of HAS patients.