High CCR7 mRNA expression of cancer cells is associated with lymph node involvement in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Int J Oncol. 2009 Apr;34(4):915-22. doi: 10.3892/ijo_00000217.


Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the biological malignant tumors. Once a tumor invades the submucosa, an incidence of lymph node (LN) metastases is very high, thus resulting in poor survival. Recently, chemokines have been reported to play an important role in organ-specific metastases in several malignancies. In particular, CCR7 has been reported to be associated with LN metastases by immunohistochemistry. However, there have been no studies of quantitative analyses of CCR7 mRNA expression on cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the clinical significance of the expression of CCR7 in the establishment of LN metastases of esophageal SCC. A series of 78 patients with esophageal SCC who underwent esophagectomy were consecutively selected. The expression of CCR7 mRNA from tumor tissue samples was analyzed by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and that from cancer cell samples collected using laser microdissection system was analyzed by qRT-PCR. Immunohistochemical staining of CCR7 was also performed. Although CCR7 mRNA expression in tumor tissues demonstrated no association with the LN metastases, that in cancer cells correlated with LN metastases (p<0.05) due to the fact that not only cancer cells but also infiltrating lymphocytes expressed CCR7 in tumor tissue. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed a high CCR7 expression in cancer cells to be an independent predictive factor for LN metastases. These results suggested that CCR7 expression might play an important role in establishing LN metastases in patients with esophageal SCC.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Lymphatic Metastasis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, CCR7 / biosynthesis*


  • CCR7 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, CCR7