Objectives. To determine the clinical implication of the loss of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) receptor (TβR) expression for the pathologic features in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and the prognosis of 62 patients (Stage I, 4; Stage II, 28; Stage III, 11; and Stage IV, 19) who underwent radical nephrectomy for RCC. Loss of expression in TβR could result in escape from the growth inhibitory effect of TGF-β in TGF-β-secreting cancer. Methods. TβR and apoptosis in the tumor were detected by immunohistochemistry using samples from 62 patients. We statistically investigated the relationship among the TβR expression pattern, pathologic features, and the prognosis of patients with RCC. Results. A loss of expression of TβR-I and TβR-II was identified in 29 patients (46.7%) and 31 patients (50.0%), respectively. Although the loss of TβR-I was not associated with clinical stage, the loss of TβR-II was associated with clinical stage (P <0.01). Univariate analysis of all patients demonstrated that Stage T3 or greater, clinical Stage III or greater, loss of TβR-II, and a tumor apoptotic index of less than 35 were associated with a significantly lower survival rate than their respective counterparts. Multivariate analysis showed that the only two significant prognostic factors were clinical stage and loss of TβR-II. In addition, TβR-negative RCC had significantly lower apoptosis than did TβR-positive RCC. Conclusions. These results suggest that a loss of TβR-II expression in the primary tumor is a significant prognostic factor in patients with RCC.
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