Background:Multiple early gastric cancers (EGCs) may develop in 6-14% of patients even after achieving curative endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD); however, a useful biomarker for predicting recurrence is not available. The present study investigated whether the expression of CD44 variant 9 (CD44v9), a functional cancer stem cell marker, in the primary gastric cancer tissue represents an indicator of recurrence.Methods:Eighty-eight patients who underwent ESD for EGC from 2008 to 2010 were enrolled and monitored for recurrence for 3 years. The expression levels of CD44v9 in the tissue of initial EGCs were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, and the recurrence rate was compared between CD44v9-positive and CD44v9-negative groups. The mucin phenotype and expression of microRNA-21 (miR-21) and programmed cell death protein 4 (PDCD4) were also analysed.Results:The recurrence rate of EGC was significantly higher in the CD44v9-positive group than in the CD44v9-negative group (hazard ratio (HR), 21.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 5.71-83.1). However, mucin phenotypes and the expression of miR-21 and PDCD4 did not predict recurrence after ESD. Meanwhile, grade of gastric atrophy was also identified as a significant marker of multiple recurrence (HR, 4.95; 95% CI, 1.30-18.8).Conclusion:CD44 variant 9 expression represents a potential predictive marker for recurrence in EGC.
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