Intercellular junctions and tumor behavior in lung cancer.
We examined the ultrastructure of 76 lung cancers and counted the number of intercellular junctions per area of tissue section. The total number of desmosomes, intermediate junctions, and tight junctions ranged from zero to 300 per 0.157 cm2 of tissue section area, and each type of carcinoma showed a considerable range in concentration of intercellular junctions. Multivariate analysis showed that the number of junctions was significantly tied to the probability of the patient's having extensive stage and to survival time, even after accounting for the routine light microscopic diagnosis of small cell versus non-small cell carcinoma. These results suggest that a tumor's ability to spread and metastasize is inversely related to its number of intercellular junctions, and this conclusion appears to apply to both small cell and non-small cell carcinomas.
McDonagh, D; Vollmer, RT; Shelburne, JD
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