Clinical & translational oncology : official publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico

Downregulated ECRG4 is correlated with lymph node metastasis and predicts poor outcome for nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients.

PMID 27119734


Esophageal cancer-related gene 4 (ECRG4) is a new candidate tumor suppressor gene. In this retrospective study, we evaluated ECRG4 protein expression in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) under curative treatment and examined its association with pathological features and clinical outcomes as a possible biomarker for diagnosis and prognosis of NPC. We enrolled 122 patients with a first diagnosis between January 2001 and December 2003. Tumor tissue and control tissue from biopsies underwent immunohistochemical staining for ECRG4. ECRG4 expression was analyzed by clinicopathological variables. After Kaplan-Meier survival analysis, we used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate the predictive effect of ECRG4 expression on overall survival. ECRG4 protein level was lower in NPC than control tissue (P < 0.01). It was inversely related to node status (P < 0.001) and clinical stage (P = 0.027). ECRG4 expression was associated with overall survival, and downregulated ECRG4 expression was an independent prognostic factor of poor survival (hazard ratio = 0.677, 95 % confidence interval 0.463-0.989, P = 0.044). A significant NPC patients showed downregulated ECRG4 expression, which is correlated with lymph node metastasis. The marker could be an independent prognostic factor for NPC patients. The precise function of ECRG4 in the progression of NPC, especially for lymphatic metastasis, deserves further investigation, which would bring a new target for personalized therapy.