We made use of Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA) staining to examine 218 gastric cancer tissues (163 primary tumors and 55 metastatic lymph nodes), using the avidin‐biotin‐peroxidase complex method. The positive HPA staining rate was 59% (96/163) for the primary tumors, and this positive staining correlated well (with statistical significance) with lymphatic invasion and metastasis (P < 0.01). In the metastatic lymph nodes, the majority of cancer cells (49/55: 89%) stained positively for HPA. Tumors with positive HPA staining often metastasized to lymph nodes. Patients with gastric cancer and positive HPA staining of their tumor tissues lived for a shorter time than did those with a negative staining, even in the absence of metastasis to the lymph nodes (P < 0.01). Careful follow‐up and aggressive therapy are required postoperatively for patients with an HPA‐positive gastric cancer. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
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