Background: Cyclooxygenase isoenzyme-2 (COX-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) contribute to angiogenesis and are overexpressed in various malignancies. The aim of the study was to evaluate expression, prognostic value and correlation between COX-2 and VEGF expression in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC).
Methods: Surgical specimens of 154 patients with EAC were used to construct a tissue micro array (TMA). TMA sections were immunohistochemically stained for COX-2 and VEGF and scored on intensity of staining.
Results: Estimated 5-year cancer specific survival was 37%. High COX-2 and VEGF expression was observed in 39 (26.5%) and in 77 (53.8%) tumors, respectively. Both markers were associated with poor cancer specific survival (p = .022 and p = .004, respectively, log rank). No significant correlation was found between VEGF and COX-2 expression (r = 063; p = .455). In multivariate analysis, high COX-2 expression (HR 1.65; 95% CI 1.04-2.61; p = .034) was associated with overall survival. In patients with T3 tumors, COX-2 expression was an independent prognostic factor for cancer specific survival (HR 1.81 95% CI 1.10-2.95; p = .019).
Conclusions: This is the first study that evaluated the prognostic value and correlation of COX-2 and VEGF expression in a large and homogenous population of patients with EAC. No correlation between COX-2 and VEGF expression was found. Both markers were expressed in EAC and were associated with poor prognosis. The findings support the use of COX-2 and VEGF inhibitors in future clinical studies.