Background: Prognostic and staging information for esophageal cancer impacts clinical decision making. miRNAs, a newly discovered class of biomarkers and their expression might add additional information relevant to this. In this study we evaluated the expression of selected miRNAs and their relationship to tumor stage and survival in patients with locally advanced tumors following esophagectomy.
Materials and methods: A total of 43 individuals undergoing esophagectomy (without neoadjuvant therapy) for locally advanced but not metastatic (pT2/3; pN0/1) disease (22 adenocarcinoma [EAC], 21 squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]) were included in this study. Perioperative clinical and survival data were collected and managed on a database. The expression of miR-21, miR-106a, miR-148a, miR-205 in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens was evaluated by TaqMan qPCR assays. Expression was compared with clinicopathological features of the cancers and outcome.
Results: In EAC, miR-148a expression levels were inversely associated with cancer differentiation. miR-21 expression levels were higher in SCC if distant lymph node metastases were present. miR-148a levels were lower when EAC was more proximally located, and miR-21 levels were lower when SCC was more proximal. miR-106a and miR-148a were lower in patients with SCC who developed recurrent disease or had a tumor-related death.
Conclusions: In patients with locally advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, but not adenocarcinoma, alterations in the expression of miR-21 correlate with tumor location and lymph node status. Furthermore, miR-106a and miR-148a expression correlates with disease recurrence and tumor-related mortality. miRNA markers might inform the initial assessment of these patients, and predict those at higher risk of postsurgical recurrence.