Esophageal Cancer
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2002. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Dec 15, 2002; 8(6): 971-975
Published online Dec 15, 2002. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v8.i6.971
Relationship between Egr-1 gene expression and apoptosis in esophageal carcinoma and precancerous lesions
Ming-Yao Wu, Ying-Rui Liang, Xian-Ying Wu, Chu-Xiang Zhuang
Ming-Yao Wu, Ying-Rui Liang, Xian-Ying Wu, Department of Pathology, Shantou university Medical College, Shantou 515031, Guangdong Province, China
Chu-Xiang Zhuang, Department of physiology, Shantou university Medical College, Shantou 515031, Guangdong Province , China
Author contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work.
Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 39670298
Correspondence to: Ming-Yao Wu, Department of Pathology, Shantou University Medical College, 22 Xinling Road, Shantou 515031, Guangdong Province ,China.
Telephone: +86-754-8900486 Fax: +86-754-8557562
Received: June 14, 2002
Revised: July 12, 2002
Accepted: July 26, 2002
Published online: December 15, 2002

AIM: To study the expression of early growth response gene-1 (Egr-1 gene) and Bcl-X/L protein and its relationship with the cell apoptosis in human esophageal carcinoma(EC) and precancerous lesions.

METHODS: In situ hybridization(ISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC) and TUNEL method were used respectively to detect Egr-1mRNA,Egr-1 protein, apoptosis related-protein Bcl-X/L and cell apoptosis in situ from 66 cases of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and their upper cut edge and paracancerous mucosa.

RESULTS: Egr-1 gene in situ hybridization, Bcl-X/L immunohistochemistry positive products were located in the cytoplasm, while Egr-1 immunohistochemistry and TUNEL positive signal were located in the nuclei. The apoptosis index(AI) and the frequency of apoptosis occurrence were increased gradually from precancerous lesion to cancer (P < 0.01) and the expression of Egr-1mRNA and Egr-1 protein in dysplasia was the highest among all specimens (P < 0.01). The AI of Egr-1 positive cancer tissues was much higher than that of Egr-1 negative cancer tissues (P < 0.01), while the AI of Bcl-X/L positive cancer tissues was much lower than that of Bcl-X/L negative cancer tissues (P < 0.01). The AI and Egr-1 expression were not correlated with invasiveness and lymphatic metastasis in EC.

CONCLUSION: Cell apoptosis was present through esophageal carcinogenesis. The expression of Egr-1 mRNA and Egr-1 protein were high in precancerous lesion of esophagus. The AI was increased significantly in Egr-1 positive squamous cell carcinoma. Egr-1 might promote apoptotic effect. Egr-1 expression and cell apoptosis may have an important biological significance in esophageal carcinogenesis.

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