Immunostaining of p-MEK and p-ERK and RKIP Immunohistochemical staining was carried out by the streptavitin-biotin method using a Histofine SAB-PO kit (Nichirei Co., Tokyo, Japan). Polyclonal rabbit antibody against p-ERK was purchased from Abcam® (Cambridge, UK), monoclonal Rabbit antibody against p-MEK 1/2 (Ser221)
was purchased from Cell Signaling EPZ-6438 concentration Technology, Inc. (Beverly, MA, USA), and RKIP antibody was purchased from Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (Santa Cruz, CA, USA). All available haematoxylin-and-eosin-stained slides of the surgical specimens were reviewed. For each case, representative paraffin blocks were selected for immunohistochemical studies. Three-micrometer-thick sections were cut from each formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue block. After deparaffinisation and rehydration, antigen retrieval treatment was carried out at 98°C (microwave) for 15 min in 10 mmolL sodium citrate buffer (pH 6.0), followed by treatment with 3% hydrogen peroxide for 15 min to quench endogenous peroxidase activity. Nonspecific binding was blocked by treating the slides with 5% EzBlock (including 10% normal goat serum) for 10 min at room temperature. The slides were incubated
with primary antibodies including p-ERK (dilution 1:50), p-MEK (1:50), and RKIP (1:100) overnight at 4°C. Immunodetection was performed by the conventional streptavidin-biotin method with peroxidase-labeled Nichirei SAB-PO kits. Diaminobenzidine Tamoxifen supplier substrate was used for colour development. very The slides were counterstained with 1% Mayer’s haematoxylin. Expression levels of p-ERK, p-MEK, and RKIP were classified into groups based on staining intensity and positive frequency. We counted stained cells under a microscope to derive the scores. The cytoplasmic and nuclear staining patterns were separately quantified, using a semiquantitative system to evaluate and grade the immunostaining pattern, as successfully applied by others . Staining intensity was scored into four grades:
0 (none), 1 (weak positive), 2 (moderate positive), and 3 (strong positive). Staining extent (positive frequency) was also scored into four grades: 0 for complete absence of staining, 1 for < 10%, 2 for 10% to 50%, and 3 for tumours with staining of 50% or more cells. Composite scores were derived by multiplying the intensity score by the staining extent score. For statistical analysis, composite scores of ≥4 were defined as cytoplasmic expression positive, and scores of < 4 were considered negative. We assessed the cytoplasmic expressions of RKIP and MEK and the nuclear expression of ERK as described previously [16, 17]. Statistical analysis The χ2 test was used to test possible associations between the expression of p-ERK, p-MEK, or RKIP and clinicopathological factors. It was also used to assess correlations between p-ERK, p-MEK, and RKIP expressions.