To assess the role of N-cadherin as prognostic biomarker in patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) in a large multi-institutional cohort of patients.
Patients and methods
Immunohistochemistry was used to evaluate the status of N-cadherin expression in 678 patients with unilateral sporadic UTUC treated with radical nephroureterectomy. N-cadherin was considered positive if any immunoreactivity with membranous staining was detected. The KaplanMeier method was used to estimate recurrence-free survival, overall survival and cancer-specific survival. Disease recurrence, overall mortality and cancer-specific mortality probabilities were tested in Cox regression models.
Expression of N-cadherin was observed in 292 (43.1%) of patients, and it was associated with advanced tumour stage (p < 0.04), lymph node metastases (p = 0.04) and sessile architecture (p < 0.02). Within a median follow-up of 37.5 months (IQR 2066), 171 patients (25.2%) experienced disease recurrence and 150 (22.1%) died from UTUC. In univariable analyses, N-cadherin expression was significantly associated with higher probability of recurrence (p = 0.01), but not overall (p = 0.9) or cancer-specific mortality (p = 0.06). When adjusted for the effects of all available confounders, N-cadherin was not associated with any of the survival outcomes.
N-cadherin is expressed in approximately 2/5 of UTUs. It is associated with adverse pathologic factors but not with survival outcomes. Its clinical value remains limited.