Department of Human Pathology, Juntendo University, Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, 113-8421, Japan; Intractable Disease Research Center, Juntendo University, Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, 113-8421, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]
Gastric adenocarcinoma with enteroblastic differentiation (GAED) is a rare variant of gastric adenocarcinoma. Clinicopathologically, GAED is known to be aggressive and is characterized by frequent vascular invasion, lymphatic invasion, and liver metastasis even in early stages. SMAD4 was identified as a frequently deleted gene in GAED by copy number variation analysis in our previous next-generation sequencing study; therefore, we examined the clinicopathological impacts of SMAD4 in 51 cases of GAEDs (early: 17, advanced: 34). We performed Sanger sequencing for SMAD4 mutations and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis of the SMAD4 locus, in addition to immunohistochemistry for SMAD4, to determine its clinicopathological correlations and impacts on survival. The frequency of LOH at the SMAD4 locus was 45.1%, and it was significantly higher in GAED compared to in conventional gastric adenocarcinoma. SMAD4 mutations were not found in any case. Reduced SMAD4 expression was found in 60.8% of cases; it was significantly correlated with advanced stages and lymph node metastasis and showed trends of larger tumor size and lymphatic invasion. Reduced SMAD4 expression in metastatic lymph nodes was found in 21 of 36 cases. Survival analysis revealed that reduced SMAD4 expression significantly affected the patient's overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS), although multivariate analysis showed that only liver metastasis and lymphatic infiltration (Ly+) were independent prognostic factors for OS and RFS. The SMAD4 locus is one of the susceptibility genes in this tumor, although SMAD4 mutation was not detected. Furthermore, the inactivation of SMAD4 appeared to contribute to the aggressiveness of GAED.