alpha-catenin is a significant prognostic factor than E-cadherin in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Tetsuro Setoyama, Shoji Natsugoe, Hiroshi Okumura, Masataka Matsumoto, Yasuto Uchikado, Naoya Yokomakura, Sumiya Ishigami, Takashi Aikou
Journal of Surgical Oncology 2007 February 1, 95 (2): 148-55

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the present study was to analyze clinicopathologic variables in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) according to expression of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin which play an important role in cell adhesion.

METHODS: We immunohistochemically examined E-cadherin and alpha-catenin in 205 patients with ESCC. The expression results were classified into two groups: preserved expression (+) and reduced expression (-).

RESULTS: The incidence of E-cadherin (-) and alpha-catenin (-) was 52% and 54%, respectively and significantly related each other. For both E-cadherin and alpha-catenin, reduced expression was significantly related to tumor depth, nodal metastasis, stage, recurrence, and prognosis. In the E-cadherin (+) group, the alpha-catenin (+) and alpha-catenin (-) patients differed significantly in tumor depth, nodal metastasis, stage, hematogenous and lymphatic recurrences (P < 0.001, <0.001, <0.001, <0.001 and =0.007, respectively). According to coexpression of E-cadherin and alpha-catenin, the prognosis was best in patients with E-cadherin (+) and alpha-catenin (+), and worst in patients with E-cadherin (-) and alpha-catenin (-). Multivariate analysis revealed that alpha-catenin expression was an independent prognostic factor.

CONCLUSIONS: The examination of expression of E-cadherin and especially alpha-catenin is useful for predicting lymph node metastasis and clinical outcome of ESCC.

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