Aims: Gastric neoplasms showing oxyntic gland differentiation (GAOGs) constitute a gastric neoplasm subtype that shows low atypia, thus similar to non-neoplastic gastric oxyntic glands. Therefore, their diagnosis in biopsy specimens is difficult. GAOGs were first described in 2007, and introduced in the latest World Health Organization classification book as gastric adenocarcinoma of the fundic gland type (GA-FG) and oxyntic gland adenoma. Previously, we assessed α1,4-linked N-acetylglucosamine (αGlcNAc) residues attached to the MUC6 scaffold in gastric neoplasms, and observed decreased αGlcNAc glycosylation in both differentiated-type gastric cancer and high-grade pyloric gland adenoma (PGA), a gastric cancer precursor. GA-FG and PGA often harbour the same mutations. However, the αGlcNAc status in GAOGs remained unknown. To elucidate αGlcNAc expression in GAOGs, we performed the study. Methods and results: We assessed the expression of αGlcNAc; the mucin markers MUC6, MUC5AC, and MUC2; the gastric gland cell markers MIST1, pepsinogen 1 (PG1), H/K-ATPase and chromogranin-A (CGA); and the proliferation marker Ki67 in 13 GAOG lesions. All 13 (100%) were MUC6-positive, whereas 10 (76.2%) were αGlcNAc-negative. Moreover, all 13 (100%) were MIST1- and PG1-positive, three (23.1%) were MUC5AC-positive, four (30.8%) were H/K-ATPase-positive, and one (7.7%) was CGA-positive. Conclusions: GAOGs frequently lost αGlcNAc residues on MUC6, but expressed the gastric gland progenitor marker MIST1 and aberrantly expressed various types of gastric gland cell lineage marker, suggestive of immature differentiation to gastric gland cells. Thus, diffuse MIST1 positivity and decreased αGlcNAc glycosylation on MUC6-positive cells could serve as important biomarkers for the histopathological diagnosis of GAOG.
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