Notch1 phenotype and clinical stage progression in non-small cell lung cancer

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© 2015 Nguyen et al.; licensee Biomed Central. Background: Notch1 transmembrane receptor is activated through ligand-binding-triggered proteolytic cleavages and, upon release, the intracellular domain (N1-ICD) translocates into the nucleus and modulates target gene transcriptions. Notch activation has been implicated in tumorigenesis in an increasing number of human malignancies including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, Notch1 in distinct expression patterns and activation status with tumor progression remains to be defined in NSCLC. Methods: Notch1 and activated Notch1, N1-ICD, were examined by immunohistochemistry in 58 cases of stage I to IV NSCLC tumors. Association between Notch1 or N1-ICD expression and clinicopathological factors was assessed via correlation coefficient r statistics. P-values are two-sided. Results: Detectable tumor Notch1, predominantly localized to the membrane and cytoplasm, was observed in 29 cases (50%, 95% Blyth-Still-Casella confidence interval 37-63%). It was negatively associated with stage (r = - 0.43, P < 0.001) and nodal status (r = - 0.33, P = 0.01), but not tumor size. In contrast, nuclear N1-ICD expression level was low and found in 12% of NSCLC patients, neither significantly associated with stage nor nodal status. Upon Notch1 activation in vitro, a mostly extra-nuclear staining was substantially turned into the nuclear signal in cancer cells. Conclusions: Notch1 in the largely inactivated phenotype is inversely associated with clinical stage progression in NSCLC. Notch1, rather than activated N1-ICD, may be a context-dependent restrictive factor to nodal metastasis.

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Nguyen, D., Rubinstein, L., Takebe, N., Miele, L., Tomaszewski, J. E., Ivy, P., … Yang, S. X. (2015). Notch1 phenotype and clinical stage progression in non-small cell lung cancer. Journal of Hematology and Oncology, 8(1).

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