Abstract

Claudin 18 (CLDN18) is a transmembrane protein that localizes to apical regions to form tight junction complexes. Abnormal expression of CLDN18 has been reported in gastric cancer (GC). The expression, genetic alterations, and prognostic role of CLDN18 were analyzed using public data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), and Human Protein Atlas (HPA) databases using multiple online tools. The biological network of CLDN18 was determined using GeneMANIA. Expression of CLDN18 was restricted to lung and stomach in normal tissues, was significantly downregulated in GC, but was ectopically overexpressed in some other cancer types. There was no correlation between mRNA expression of CLDN18 and the clinicopathology of GC, although expression was higher in the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-positive subgroup than other subgroups. Genetic alteration of CLDN18 was not a common event in GC; the main alteration was gene fusion with ARHGAP26. CLDN18 expression did not predict the overall survival (OS) of GC patients. This study summarizes the expression features of CLDN18 in GC and suggests it may serve as a biomarker and therapy target for GC.