Clinical significance of ephrin (eph)-A1, -A2, -a4, -a5 and -a7 receptors in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Pathol Oncol Res. 2010 Jun;16(2):267-76. doi: 10.1007/s12253-009-9221-6. Epub 2009 Dec 1.


Ephrin (Eph) receptors have been reported to be frequently overexpressed in a wide variety of cancer types, being associated with tumor growth, invasion, metastasis and angiogenesis. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the clinical significance of Eph-A1, -A2, -A4, -A5 and -A7 expression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Eph-A1, -A2, -A4, -A5 and -A7 expression and staining intensity were assessed immunohistochemically in tumoral samples of 67 pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients and were statistically analyzed in relation to clinicopathological characteristics, tumor proliferative capacity and patients' survival. Eph receptors were abundantly expressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cases examined. Eph-A1 staining intensity was significantly associated with tumor size (pT, p = 0.008) and tumor histopathological stage (pStage, p = 0.012). Eph-A2 expression was significantly associated with patients' age (p = 0.007), while Eph-A4 and Eph-A5 with tumor proliferative capacity (p = 0.019 and p = 0.011, respectively). Pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients with moderate/intense Eph-A5 or Eph-A7 staining presented significantly shorter survival times compared to those with negative/mild one (log-rank test, p = 0.024 and p = 0.009, respectively). Multivariate analysis identified Eph-A5 and Eph-A7 staining intensity as independent prognostic factors (p = 0.048 and p = 0.004, respectively). In conclusion, the present study revealed that Eph receptors were associated with pancreatic cancer characteristics, supporting evidence for their potential clinical application in management and prognosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, EphA1 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, EphA2 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, EphA4 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, EphA5 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, EphA7 / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Eph Family / biosynthesis*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptor, EphA1
  • Receptor, EphA2
  • Receptor, EphA4
  • Receptor, EphA5
  • Receptor, EphA7
  • Receptors, Eph Family