Downregulation of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)/Apo2L in Barrett's esophagus with dysplasia and adenocarcinoma

Nikolay K. Popnikolov, Zoran Gatalica, Patrick A. Adegboyega, Brent A. Norris, P. Jay Pasricha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TRAIL/Apo2L is a CD95 ligand-related member of the TNF family that initiates apoptosis in immune and neoplastic cells after binding to specific surface receptors. The authors previously reported a specific topographic pattern of TRAIL expression in the normal colonic mucosa and the loss of TRAIL expression in tubular adenomas as well as in most colon carcinomas. Therefore, they hypothesized that similar changes may occur during the malignant transformation of Barrett's esophagus. The aim of this study was to compare TRAIL/Apo2L expression in normal gastroesophageal (GE) junction, Barrett's esophagus with and without dysplasia, and associated adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemical evaluation of TRAIL expression was performed on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sections from 29 GE junction/esophageal biopsies, 20 gastric biopsies, 6 esophagectomies, 2 small bowel resection specimens, and 5 colon biopsies. The expression was graded semiquantitatively on a 4-point scale (0-3). TRAIL was expressed in the foveolar epithelium of the histologically normal GE junctional mucosa and stomach as well as in the normal intestinal epithelium, with maximal expression in the surface epithelium. TRAIL was always detected in Barrett's metaplasia (21/21, 100%), and the overall expression was similar to that of the columnar portion of the normal GE junction (8/8, 100%). TRAIL was rarely and weakly (1+) expressed in Barrett's esophagus with dysplasia (3/18, 16.7%) and adenocarcinoma (1/10, 10.0%) (P<0.001). Similarities in the topographic pattern of TRAIL expression in the normal GE junction, stomach, small intestine, and colon suggest a common function of TRAIL throughout the gastrointestinal tract. These results show that the downregulation of TRAIL is associated with development of dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus. Thus, the immunohistochemically detected downregulation of TRAIL expression appears to be a promising indicator of dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-165
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Dysplasia
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • TRAIL/Apo2L

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Downregulation of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)/Apo2L in Barrett's esophagus with dysplasia and adenocarcinoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this