OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between E-cadherin-associated cell-to-cell adhesion and cytologic features in preoperative cytologic lung adenocarcinoma specimens. STUDY DESIGN: Evaluation of the relationship between cell-to-cell adhesion, formation of cellular clusters and frequency of single cells in 31 cases of primary lung adenocarcinoma, collected by brush and needle cytology preoperatively. RESULTS: Most cases with remarkable overlapping of cells in compact cellular clusters and a few solitary cells maintained cell-to-cell adhesion. Cellular clusters that had a slight tendency to overlap, a small cell-to-cell adhesion area and a high frequency of solitary cells tended to lack E-cadherin-associated cell-to-cell adhesion. CONCLUSION: Formation of cellular clusters and the appearance of solitary cancer cells are closely related to E-cadherin-associated cell-to-cell adhesion. Therefore, it is highly likely that cytologic features may indicate malignant behavior, such as local invasion and lymph node metastasis, in primary lung adenocarcinoma.
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