The membranous, cytoplasmic and nuclear levels of beta-catenin were evaluated immunohistochemically in archival tissue specimens from 96 Japanese patients with primary colorectal carcinoma who had undergone surgery. The relationships between beta-catenin and clinicopathological variables were analyzed statistically. Reduced beta-catenin immunoreactivity in the cell membranes of cancer cells was found in 70% of the tumors, and cytoplasmic and nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin were found in 68 and 66% of tumors, respectively. Significant correlations between cytoplasmic beta-catenin accumulation and the depth of invasion, venous invasion and focal dedifferentiation were observed. Cytoplasmic beta-catenin accumulation was also found to be a useful predictor of hematogenous metastasis (hazard ratio = 8.94, p = 0.054), though neither a reduced cell membrane level nor nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin correlated with metastasis.
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