Background: Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) causes the highest number of cancer deaths in some regions of Northern China. Previously, we narrowed down a critical region at 9q33-34, identified to be associated with tumour-suppressive function of deleted in oesophageal cancer 1 (DEC1) in oesophageal SCC.
Methods: We generated DEC1 antibody and constructed tissue microarrays (TMAs) utilising tissue specimens from Henan, a high-risk region for oesophageal SCC, to investigate the importance of DEC1 expression in this cancer.
Results: Tissue microarray immunohistochemical staining reveals significant loss of DEC1 from hyperplasia, to tumour, and to lymph node metastasis. In addition, the loss of DEC1 in tumour is age-dependent. Interestingly, there is significant abrogation of DEC1 expression in patients with a family history of oesophageal SCC. Deleted in oesophageal cancer 1 localises to both the cytoplasm and nucleus. The vesicular pattern of DEC1 in the cytoplasm appears to localise at the Golgi and Golgi-endoplasmic reticulum intermediate compartment.
Conclusion: This is the first TMA study to suggest a clinical association of DEC1 in lymph node metastatic oesophageal SCC, early onset oesophageal SCC and familial oesophageal SCC development. Subcellular localisation of DEC1 and its expression in oesophageal SCC tissues provide important insight for further deciphering the molecular mechanism of DEC1 in oesophageal SCC development.