Background: Caspase-3 acts as a major executioner protein in proteolytic degradation during apoptosis. The role of Caspase-3 in gastric cancer remains controversial. Methods: A total of 366 gastric cancer patients who received curative surgery were enrolled. Caspase-3 expression in gastric tumors was examined by immunohistochemical staining. Correlations between Caspase-3 expression and the survival rates and between Caspase-3 expression and the clinicopathological parameters of the gastric cancer patients were analyzed. Results: The 5-year overall survival rates of gastric cancer patients with and without Caspase-3 expression were 51.2% and 37.3%, respectively (P = 0.030). The 5-year disease-free survival rates of gastric cancer patients with and without Caspase-3 expression were 49.2% and 34.6%, respectively (P = 0.029). Analyses of the clinicopathological features showed that larger tumor size (P = 0.030), more advanced Borrmann type (P = 0.012), more aggressive stromal reaction (P = 0.001), higher classification using Ming's infiltrating histology type (P = 0.018), more lymph node involvement (P = 0.019), and more lymphovascular involvement (P = 0.045) were significantly correlated with a lack of Caspase-3 expression. The multivariate analysis showed that age (P = 0.001), Borrmann classification (P = 0.032), stromal reaction type (P = 0.018), TNM pathological T category (P = 0.002), TNM pathological N category (P < 0.001), and Caspase-3 expression (P = 0.041) were significantly correlated with the overall survival of gastric cancer patients. Conclusion: Caspase-3 expression in gastric cancer patients is related to favorable clinicopathological features and a positive prognosis after curative surgery. Caspase-3 may act as a tumor suppressor in human gastric cancer.
- Gastric cancer