Introduction: The tight junction molecule Claudin 18.2 is selectively expressed in healthy and malignant gastric epithelial tissue and is a promising therapy target for high Claudin 18.2 expressing adenocarcinomas of the esophagogastric junction and stomach (AEG/S).
Methods: This study analyzed the prevalence, characteristics and prognostic impact of Claudin 18.2 expression in primary tumor, lymph node and distant metastasis in a large Caucasian AGE/S cohort with 414 patients.
Results: Claudin 18.2 was highly expressed in 17.1% of primary tumors, 26.7% of lymph node metastasis and 16.7% of distant metastasis. High Claudin 18.2 expression in lymph node metastasis and primary tumors correlated significantly (p < 0.001). High expression of Claudin 18.2 was neither associated with histomorphogical subtype, or tumor state, nor with overall survival.
Conclusion: In Caucasian AEG/S patients, 17.1% appeared to be eligible for an anti-Claudin 18.2 therapy. Claudin 18.2 expression itself has no impact on prognosis and is not related to any tumor subtype.