Signal transducers and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 is activated in cancers, where it promotes growth, inflammation, angiogenesis, and inhibits apoptosis. Tissue microarrays were generated using tissues from 154 patients, with oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) (n = 116) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (n = 38) tumours. The tissues were stained for pSTAT3 and IL-6R using immunohistochemistry. The OE33 (OAC) and OE21 (SCC) cell lines were treated with the STAT3 inhibitor, STATTIC. The Univariate cox regression analysis revealed that a positive pSTAT3 in SCC was adversely associated with survival (Hazard ratio (HR) 6.382, 95% CI 1.266⁻32.184), while a protective effect was demonstrated with the higher pSTAT3 levels in OAC epithelium (HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.574⁻0.953). The IL-6R intensity levels were higher in the SCC tumours compared with the OAC tumours for the core and leading edge tumour tissue. The pSTAT3 levels correlated positively with the IL-6R levels in both the OAC and SCC. The treatment of OE21 and OE33 cells with the STAT3 inhibitor STATTIC in vitro resulted in decreased survival, proliferation, migration, and increased apoptosis. The pSTAT3 expression was associated with adverse survival in SCC, but not in the OAC patients. The inhibition of STAT3 in both of the tumour subtypes resulted in alterations in the survival, proliferation, migration, and apoptosis, suggesting a potential role for therapeutically targeting STAT3.
Keywords: STAT3; adenocarcinoma; cancer; oesophagus; squamous cell carcinoma.