Slug Expression in the E-cadherin preserved tumors is related to prognosis in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Yasuto Uchikado, Shoji Natsugoe, Hiroshi Okumura, Tetsuro Setoyama, Masataka Matsumoto, Sumiya Ishigami, Takashi Aikou
Clinical Cancer Research 2005 February 1, 11 (3): 1174-80

PURPOSE: The expression of E-cadherin correlates with the development, progression, and metastasis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Slug, a member of the snail family of transcriptional factors, is a newly identified suppressive transcriptional factor of E-cadherin. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the clinical significance of E-cadherin and Slug expression in ESCC.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the expression of E-cadherin and Slug proteins in 203 patients with ESCC. The relationships between expression of these proteins and clinicopathologic factors, including prognosis, were analyzed.

RESULTS: Positive expression of E-cadherin and Slug was observed in 43% and 48% of cases, respectively. The tumors with reduced E-cadherin expression or positive Slug expression invaded deeper, had more lymph node metastasis, and had more lymphatic invasion than the tumors with preserved E-cadherin expression or negative Slug expression. Slug expression significantly correlated with reduced E-cadherin expression. Sixty-seven of the 98 (68.4%) tumors with positive Slug expression had reduced E-cadherin expression (P = 0.0011). Patients with reduced E-cadherin expression or positive Slug expression had poor clinical outcomes. In the preserved E-cadherin group, the 5-year survival rate was better for patients who were negative for Slug expression than for those who were positive for Slug expression (P = 0.035). Multivariate analysis indicated that E-cadherin expression and Slug expression were not independent prognostic factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Evaluation of not only the expression of E-cadherin but also the co-expression of E-cadherin and Slug in preserved E-cadherin group is useful for predicting malignant properties of ESCC.

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