Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a common subtype of esophageal cancer that is particularly prevalent in East Asian countries. Our previous expression profile analysis showed that the gene encoding protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7) is upregulated in ESCC tissues. Here, we aimed to validate PTK7 as a prognostic factor and a candidate target for molecular treatment of ESCC. Both RT-PCR and Western blot analysis of tissues from ESCC patients revealed that PTK7 was significantly upregulated in tumor tissue samples of ESCC. Immunohistochemical staining of PTK7 showed that increased expression of PTK7 was inversely correlated with overall survival (P = 0.021). In vitro knockdown of PTK7 inhibited proliferation, survival, wound healing, and invasion of ESCC cells. In addition, PTK7 knockdown decreased phosphorylation of Akt, Erk, and focal adhesion kinase (FAK), important determinants of cell proliferation, survival, and migration. Therefore, our findings suggest that PTK7 has potential as a prognostic marker for ESCC and might also be a candidate for targeted therapy in the treatment of ESCC.
© 2013 Japanese Cancer Association.