Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Freiburg University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany.
Introduction: The pp125 focal adhesion kinase (FAK) plays a pivotal role in tumor cell signaling. Focal adhesion kinase expression has been linked to tumor cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis, but data on endometrial cancer are inconclusive.
Methods: We assess FAK expression by immunohistochemistry in endometrial cancer for its value to predict patient prognosis.
Results: Of 134 endometrial cancer cases, 120 (89%) revealed moderate and strong expressions of FAK, whereas weak expression was found in 14 (11%) tumors. Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated a clear trend toward improved survival rates for patients with endometrial carcinomas weakly expressing FAK, and notably, there was neither lymph node metastasis nor tumor-related death in this patient subgroup. Increased expression of FAK correlated with higher histological tumor grade (P = 0.002), lymphatic vascular space invasion (P = 0.003), and vascular space invasion (P = 0.02). Significant prognostic survival variables were tumor stage (P < 0.01), histological type (P < 0.01), tumor grade (P = 0.028), and pelvic lymph node status (P = 0.035). Multivariate Cox regression analysis identified histological tumor grade as a significant independent predictor of patient survival (hazards ratio, 2.71; P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Further studies are warranted to elucidate whether FAK expression analysis is a suitable tool in stratifying patients at different risks of disease progress, and wether FAK might become a new molecular target for endometrial anticancer therapy.