Primary tumor vascularity in esophagus cancer. CD34 and HIF1-α expression correlate with tumor progression

Histol Histopathol. 2013 Oct;28(10):1361-8. doi: 10.14670/HH-28.1361. Epub 2013 May 8.


Objective: Hypoxia inducible factor α (HIF1-α) is a key protein regulating the response of a variety of genes and pathways, including angiogenesis, to hypoxic stimuli. High vascularity in various carcinomas correlates with invasion and metastasis. Assessment of primary tumor vascularity and HIF1-α expression in esophageal carcinomas was an objective of this study.

Methods: The vascularity in esophageal carcinomas (n=52) was quantified by Chalkley method on CD34 immunostained sections. HIF1-α expression was examined by immunohistochemistry. The relationships between CD34 Chalkley count, HIF1-α and various clinico-pathological characteristics with clinical outcome were evaluated.

Results: High HIF1-α expression in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) was significantly associated with the T3-4 group (p=0.02). A higher percentage of SCC with high HIF1-α expression compared to its expression in adenocarcinoma (AC) (p=0.005) was observed. In the SCC group, high CD34 Chalkley count and high HIF1-α expression implied a significantly reduced survival (p=0.003 and p=0.001). No such significant association was found in the AC group.

Conclusions: HIF1-α expression is different in two separate tumor microenvironments: SCCs and ACs of the esophagus. This suggests that different mechanisms may be involved in HIF1-α expression- and activity between the two histological types of esophageal carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Disease Progression
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Antigens, CD34
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • HIF1A protein, human
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit