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Keywords:

  • esophageal squamous cell cancer;
  • esophagectomy;
  • lymph node metastasis;
  • prognosis;
  • VEGF-C

Abstract

Aim:  To investigate the correlation between vascular endothelial growth factor C (VEGF-C) expression and prognosis in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).

Method:  In all, 92 ESCC specimens were re-evaluated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction to detect VEGF-C mRNA. Correlations between VEGF-C expression and clinicopathological factors were analyzed using χ2 test. The log–rank test was used to calculate survival rate and disease-free survival. A Cox regression multivariate analysis was performed to determine independent prognostic factors.

Results:  VEGF-C mRNA expression was correlated with tumor invasion (P < 0.01), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.025), tumor stage (P < 0.01) and lymphatic invasion (P < 0.001). The 5-year survival rate in patients was significantly associated with tumor invasion (P < 0.001), lymph node metastasis (P < 0.001), tumor stage (P < 0.001) and VEGF-C mRNA expression (P = 0.001). The 5-year survival rate of patients without VEGF-C mRNA expression was significantly higher than that of the patients with VEGF-C mRNA expression (P = 0.001). Cox regression multivariate analysis confirmed that tumor invasion was the only relevant independent factor. The 5-year disease-free survival rate of patients without VEGF-C mRNA expression in esophageal cancer tissues was also significantly higher than that of the patients with VEGF-C mRNA expression (P < 0.001). Cox regression multivariate analysis confirmed that tumor invasion and VEGF-C mRNA expression were independent factors for 5-year disease-free survival.

Conclusion:  VEGF-C expression correlates with poor survival in ESCC patients. However, it is not an independent prognostic factor.