As one of the deadliest and most common malignancies in the world, gastric cancer (GC) represents a serious health threat. Despite recent advances in the field, the prognosis of patients with metastatic GC remains poor. In this study, we aimed to investigate the clinical impact of the alpha subunit of the nuclear structural protein thymopoietin (TMPO-α) in GC. The expression of TMPO-α in seven gastric cell lines was detected by immunoblotting. The expression level of TMPO-α levels in gastric tissues collected from 145 GC patients was examined by immunohistochemistry. The correlations between TMPO-α expression level and clinicopathologic parameters, as well as the association of TMPO-α expression with overall survival, were assessed. Immunohistochemistry showed that the expression of TMPO-α was significantly higher in GC tissues and cells in comparison with non-tumor tissues and cells. Furthermore, the overexpression of TMPO-α in gastric tissues (56%) was positively associated with Lauren classification (P = 0.0159), nodal status (P = 0.0265), distant metastasis (P < 0.0001), stage (P = 0.0367), and degree of differentiation (P = 0.0009). Patients with high TMPO-α levels had a significantly poorer overall survival than those with low levels (P = 0.001). Multivariate Cox regression analysis also indicated that TMPO-α was an independent prognostic marker for GC (P = 0.045). In addition, studies conducted in GC cells indicated that knockdown of TMPO-α suppressed cell proliferation and invasion. These findings indicate that TMPO-α overexpression can predict clinicopathologic features and the outcome of patients with GC.
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