The expression of Twist has an impact on survival in human bladder cancer and is influenced by the smoking status

Marie E Fondrevelle, Bernadette Kantelip, Robert E Reiter, Dominique K Chopin, Jean P Thiery, Franck Monnien, Hugues Bittard, Hervé Wallerand
Urologic Oncology 2009, 27 (3): 268-76

OBJECTIVES: Twist is considered as transcription factor that regulates epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) by at least inhibition of E-cadherin expression. EMT is a key event in the tumor invasion process. The purpose of this study is to investigate the expression of Twist but also those of E- and N-cadherin in human primary bladder tumor and to evaluate its prognostic value. As smoking cigarettes is a strong bladder cancer risk factor, we tried to evaluate the impact of the tobacco status on these molecular abnormalities.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: To delineate on the oncogenic role for Twist in human bladder cancer, we evaluated the E- and N-cadherin but also Twist expression (n = 70) by immunohistochemistry. We evaluated the prognostic value of these expressions. Moreover, we tried to correlate these protein expressions to the smoking status of the patients. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method, and multivariate analysis was performed using the Cox proportional hazard analysis.

RESULTS: Of the 70 bladder tumors, 28 (40%) cases were positive for Twist expression, 16 (23%) cases were negative for E-cadherin expression, and 12 (17%) were positive for N-cadherin expression. When categorized into negative vs. positive expression, Twist was associated with the stage (P = 0.001), the grade (P < 0.001), the progression (P = 0.02), and the E-cadherin expression (P = 0.01). Moreover, positive Twist expression clearly predicted poorer PFS (P = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis, both positive Twist expression and loss of E-cadherin expression were independent prognostic factors for PFS (P = 0.046 and P = 0.001, respectively) and only loss of E-cadherin expression for the OS (P < 0.001). We also demonstrated that almost 60% (16/28) of patients with Twist-positive expression were current smokers at the time of the diagnosis, corroborating the fact that smoking modulates the expression of EMT markers including Twist.

CONCLUSION: Positive Twist expression may be a useful prognostic marker for patients with bladder cancer. Its expression seems to be correlated to the tobacco status of the patients.

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