Zeb1 and twist are more commonly expressed in metastatic than primary lung tumours and show inverse associations with claudins

Journal of Clinical Pathology, 12/20/2010

Merikallio H et al. – According to protein expression, involvement of zeb1 and twist in EMT in primary lung tumours is relatively infrequent. Carcinomas metastatic to the lung showed a significantly higher expression of these transcriptional factors than primary lung tumours, indicating their probable importance in the metastatic process. Zeb1 and twist were inversely associated with several claudins, indicating a role in their down-regulation.


  • Studied Zeb1 and twist in 289 primary and 54 metastatic lung tumours and their relation to expression of claudins 1–5 and 7 by immunohistochemistry


  • Metastatic tumours showed significantly lower expression of zeb1 and twist (33.0% and 38.0% vs 5.0% and 14.5%, p<0.001 for both) and they also had significantly lower expression of claudin 1 (p<0.001), claudin 4 (p<0.001), claudin 5 (p=0.001) and claudin 7 (p<0.001) than did primary tumours
  • Primary lung tumours showed a strong inverse association between zeb1 and claudin 1 (p=0.024) and claudin 2 (p=0.003)
  • For twist an inverse association found with claudin 5 (p=0.007)
  • In metastatic tumours zeb1 inversely associated with claudin 7 (p=0.050) and twist with claudin 5 (p=0.025)
  • Overexpression of claudin 5 associated with decreased survival (p=0.017)
  • For zeb1 or twist, no association with survival observed in primary or metastatic tumours

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