β-Catenin marks proliferating endothelial cells in glioblastoma
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BackgroundAngiogenesis is a key process in the growth and maintenance of tumors. The Wnt signaling pathway is required for angiogenesis of the central nervous system though development of the blood-brain barrier and subsequent proliferation of endothelial cells during tumor growth. However, the specificity of the Wnt pathway in regulating endothelial cells of different central nervous systems remains to be investigated.
Materials & methodsPatient-derived tissue samples from 35 paraffin-embedded tumors were used to assess β-catenin immunoexpression. Tumor samples consisted of the following pathologies: grade II diffuse astrocytoma, glioblastoma, hemangioblastoma, and metastatic adenocarcinoma (lung or breast primary). Average percent reactivity was recorded as a mean observed in ten high-power fields. The following scale was used to grade immunoreactivity: 0 = immunonegative, 1 = 1-25% reactive, 2 = 26-50% reactive, 3 = 51-75% reactive, 4 = 76-100% reactive.
ResultsWhile we did not observe nuclear expression of β-catenin in any samples, there was uniform cytoplasmic expression of β-catenin within glial tumor cells. There was a clear distinction in tumor endothelial cells whereby diffuse staining was noted in areas of microvascular hyperplasia in GBM and a less immunoreactive profile in low-grade astrocytomas. By contrast, non-glial tumors, contained very minimal cytoplasmic β-catenin expression in tumor and stromal cells and were devoid of immunoreactivity in endothelial cells.
Conclusionβ-catenin is unique marker of proliferating endothelial cells in GBM. Therapies targeting the spatial and structural heterogeneity inherent to GBM may prove to be efficacious and result in an improved survivorship.
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