Altered expression of Fhit in carcinoma and precarcinomatous lesions of the esophagus

Masaki Mori, Koshi Mimori, Takeshi Shiraishi, Hansjuerg Alder, Hiroshi Inoue, Yoichi Tanaka, Keizo Sugimachi, Kay Huebner, Carlo M. Croce

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127 Citations (Scopus)


The FHIT gene, located at chromosome 3p14.2, is a tumor suppressor gene often involved in tumors resulting from exposure to environmental carcinogens. We studied 46 pairs of esophageal primary tumors and corresponding normal squamous mucosa specimens by molecular genetic and immunohistochemical methods to investigate the role of the FHIT gene in esophageal carcinoma. In addition, we studied several different types of lesions, such as carcinoma it, situ or dysplasia by immunohistochemistry. Loss of heterozygosity at or around the FHIT gene was observed in 35 (76%) primary tumors. Immunohistochemical detection of Fhit protein in the primary tumors demonstrated that 14 (30%) were positive and 32 (70%) were negative. We observed concordance between loss of Fhit protein and loss of heterozygosity and between loss of Fhit protein and RNA abnormalities. Because the FHIT/FRA3B locus is susceptible to damage by environmental carcinogens, we investigated the correlation between Fhit expression and smoking or alcohol habits. In this relatively small study, the patients who were both heavy users of tobacco and alcohol showed a significantly higher frequency of loss of Fhit expression than those who were light users. Noncarcinomatous squamous epithelium showed positive Fhit reactivity in most cases; however, five showed negative Fhit reactivity. Interestingly, all of these five patients had habits of heavy use of tobacco and alcohol. Eight of 12 carcinomas in situ, 2 of 4 severe dysplasias, 4 of 8 moderate dysplasias, and 3 of 9 mild dysplastic lesions showed negative Fhit reactivity. These findings indicated that loss of Fhit expression may be an early event in the development of human esophageal carcinoma and may occur even in normal- appearing squamous epithelium in some patients heavily exposed to environmental carcinogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1182
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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