lmmunohistochemical detection of metallothionein in carcinomatous and normal human gastric mucosa


  • Giovanni Tuccari
  • G. Giuffrè
  • F. Arena
  • G. Barresi


metallothionein, gastric mucosa, gastric carcinoma, immunohistochemistry, prognosis


Utilising a specific monoclonal mouse antibody (E9), metallothionein (MT) expression has been immunohistochemically investigated in 112 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surgical gastric samples, 38 of which were early carcinomas (EGC) and 74 advanced ones (AGC); clinico-pathological details and follow-up data (ranging from 3 to 197 months, mean 60.5 months) were available. Eighty-nine portions of gastric mucosa adjacent to examined carcinomas (transitional mucosa) were also analysed; in addition, 22 biopsies of normal gastric mucosa were studied as tissue control. The MT immunoreactivity was evaluated by staining and intensity-distribution scores. A various MT positivity was appreciable in the cytoplasm and nucleus of antrum or body gastric epithelia1 cells in 100% of normal control biopsies. 751112 (67%) gastric carcinomas showed MT immunoreactivity with a significant lower expression in AGC. No relationships were encountered between MT immunostaining and clinico-pathological data; in addition, no difference in the Kaplan-Meier survival curves of patients with various MT expression was achieved. When the transitional mucosa was examined, 84/89 (94%) samples were stained although the immunoreaction was not always concordant with that encountered in adjacent carcinomatous elements. The significant statistical decrease of MT scores observed by us moving from normal to neoplastic gastric mucosa allows us to exclude the hypothesis of an overexpression of MT in gastric carcinomas.