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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 179-185

Clinical significance of preoperative serum tumor markers in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma


1 Department of Thoracic Surgery, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital; Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Diagnosis and Treatment Technology on Thoracic Oncology (Lung and Esophagus), Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou 310022, China
2 Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Basic Medical Science, Zhejiang Medical College, Hangzhou 310022, China
3 Department of Clinical Laboratory, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou 310022, China

Date of Web Publication29-Nov-2014

Correspondence Address:
Weimin Mao
Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Diagnosis and Treatment Technology on Thoracic Oncology (Lung and Esophagus), Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou 310022
China
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Source of Support: This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang (LQ12H16001) and General Research Project of Zhejiang Medical College (2013XZB02), Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.145863

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 > Abstract 

Background: Serum tumor markers (TMs) were seldom reported in esophageal carcinoma (ESCC), and the results were still unsatisfactory.
Materials and Methods: We retrospectively analyzed carcinoembryonic antigen, CA125, CA199, CA724 and CA242 in ESCC patients. The preliminary relations between serum TMs and clinicopathological factors or prognosis were analyzed by Fisher's exact test and Kaplan-Meier method firstly. Then, the cut-off values of these serum TMs were delimited according to lymph node metastasis, hematogenic metastasis and 2-year survival or 5-year survival of ESCC by receiver operating characteristic curve. Based on these cut-off values, the relations between the serum TMs and clinicopathological factors or prognosis were analyzed again. Univariate and multivariate analyses of Cox regression proportional hazard model were performed to evaluate the prognostic parameters for survival.
Results: We chose 13.65 U/mL, 9.945 U/mL and 6.25 U/mL as new cut-off values of CA125, CA199 and CA724, respectively, and chose 25.35 U/mL as the cut-off value of CA125 for ESCC hematogenous metastasis. with these optimal cut-off values, CA199, CA125 and CA724 were associated with ESCC hematogenous metastasis, and CA199 and CA125 were associated with ESCC lymph node metastasis, but not associated with other clinicopathological factors. The prognosis was better in patients with CA125 ≤ 13.65 U/mL than those with CA125 > 13.65U/mL. Vascular tumor thrombus, grading, T grade, lymph node metastasis and CA125 were independent prognostic factors.
Conclusion: CA125 could predict lymph node metastasis, hematogenic metastasis and prognosis with the cut-off value 13.65 U/mL.

Keywords: Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, metastasis, prognostic factor, tumor markers


How to cite this article:
Zhao H, Chen W, Wu J, Wang L, Mao W. Clinical significance of preoperative serum tumor markers in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. J Can Res Ther 2014;10, Suppl S3:179-85

How to cite this URL:
Zhao H, Chen W, Wu J, Wang L, Mao W. Clinical significance of preoperative serum tumor markers in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Oct 17];10:179-85. Available from: http://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2014/10/7/179/145863


 > Introduction Top


Tumor markers (TMs) refer to a series of substances, which are produced by tumor cells during their growth and proliferation, or secreted abnormally by the body due to the reaction to the tumor. They express in a low level in healthy people but increase in cancer patients. They can reflect the presence of the tumor. Studies have shown that serum TMs play an important role in cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, monitoring. [1],[2],[3] Due to their convenience and noninvasion, serum TMs are widely applied in clinical practice.

Although serum TMs were reported in many tumors, such as pancreatic, ovarian, gastrointestinal, breast and lung cancer, there were few reports in esophageal carcinoma (ESCC). Even in those reports, the results were still unsatisfactory. First, the main pathological type of ESCC is squamous cell carcinoma, especially in china, while that of other gastrointestinal tumors is adenocarcinoma. Different pathological type may cause different expression of serum TMs, which is why serum TMs are higher in gastrointestinal tumors, but lower in ESCC. Second, because of the lower serum TMs expression, the common cut-off values of these serum TMs are of little significance to ESCC. The normal value criteria of serum TMs drew up according to the difference between cancer patients and healthy people while it is more meaningful to compare the difference between cancer patients. Therefore, the cut-off value of serum TMs should be delimited anew in ESCC.

In this research, some serum TMs were retrospectively analyzed in ESCC patients. The preliminary relations between serum TMs and clinicopathological factors or prognosis were analyzed firstly. Then, the cut-off values of these serum TMs were delimited according to lymph node metastasis, blood metastasis and 2-year survival or 5-year survival of ESCC. Based on these cut-off values, the relations between the serum TMs and clinicopathological factors or prognosis were analyzed again. Finally, the role of serum TMs in ESCC was evaluated.


 > Materials and methods Top


0 Patients

Totally 314 cases of ESCC (243 cases were treated by surgery, 38 cases with neck or celiac lymphatic metastasis and 33 cases with hematogenous metastasis were treated by nonsurgical therapy) in Zhejiang Cancer Hospital (Hangzhou, China) from March 2008 to July 2009 were enrolled. Their clinicopathological data were collected.

Serum tumor markers measurement

After signing informed consent forms, each subject donated 3 mL of blood to be used for detecting serum TMs. Blood samples were collected with venipuncture before surgery. Serum was separated by centrifuge and then stored at −20°C until detection. The repeated thawing and freezing of samples was avoided.

Serum concentrations of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA125, CA199 were measured by i4000 light-emitting apparatus (Abbott Laboratories Ltd., US) with chemiluminescence. Serum levels of CA724 was tested by cobas e601 light-emitting apparatus (F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., US) with an electrochemical luminescence. Serum CA242 concentrations was determined by automatic luminous instrument maglumi (New industries biomedical engineering Ltd., Shenzhen, China) with chemiluminescence. Reagents are all provided by above company.

The cut-off concentrations of CEA, CA125, CA199, CA724, CA242 were 20 U/mL, 35 U/mL, 37 U/mL, 6.9 U/mL, 20 U/mL, respectively, according to the manufacturer's instructions.


 > Follow-up Top


All surgical patients were follow-up regularly. Computed tomography and endoscopy were carried out at regular intervals (every 3-6 months). The means of follow-up and data collection included regular outpatient follow-up, telephone or mailings follow-up. Overall survival was defined as the interval from the date of operation to the date of death or last follow-up. The follow-up period was 60 months.

Statistical analysis

Statistical analyses were carried out using SPSS 16.0. (SPSS, Chicago, IL) Fisher's exact test and Kaplan-Meier method were used to analyze the preliminary relations between TMs and clinicopathological factors or prognosis.

Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was employed to delimited new cut-off values of these TMs according to lymph node metastasis, hematogenous metastasis, 2-year survival or 5-year survival, respectively. Based on these new cut-off values, the relations between serum TMs and clinicopathological factors were analyzed again using Chi-square test, and the relations between serum TMs and prognosis were analyzed again by Kaplan-Meier method. Differences between the Kaplan-Meier curves were evaluated with Log-rank test. Univariate and multivariate analyses of Cox regression proportional hazard model were performed to evaluate the prognostic parameters for survival.

Differences were considered as statically significant with P < 0.05.


 > Results Top


0 Preliminary relations between serum tumor markers and clinicopathological factors

The positive rates of CEA, CA125, CA199, CA724, CA242 were 9.9% (31/314), 4.5% (14/314), 7.0% (22/314), 15.6% (49/314), 2.5% (8/314), respectively. CEA, CA125, CA199, CA724, except CA242, were related to hematogenous metastasis [Table 1]. Other clinicopathological factors were not associated with above serum TMs.
Table 1: The relations between serum tumor markers and hematogenous metastasis based on the normal cut-off values


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New cut-off values

A series of cut-off values of these TMs were identified according to lymph node metastasis, hematogenous metastasis, 2-year survival or 5-year survival with ROC curve and area under the curve. CA125 and CA199 were significant in lymph node metastasis, and the cut-off values were 13.75 U/mL and 9.945 U/mL, respectively [Figure 1] and [Table 2]. CA125, CA199 and CA724 were significant in hematogenous metastasis, and the cut-off values are 25.35 U/mL, 10.1 U/mL and 6.25 U/mL, respectively [Figure 2] and [Table 3]. CA125 was significant in 2-year survival and 5-year survival, and the cut-off values were 13.65 U/mL and 13.25 U/mL, respectively [Figure 3] and [Figure 4], [Table 4] and [Table 5]. We incorporate the similar results from the same TMs, and chose 13.65 U/mL, 9.945 U/mL and 6.25 U/mL as new cut-off values of CA125, CA199 and CA724, respectively. We chose 25.35U/mL as the cut-off value of CA125 for ESCC hematogenous metastasis.
Figure 1: The receiver operating characteristic curve for lymph node metastasis prediction were plotted to verify the optimum cut-off point for tumor markers

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Figure 2: The receiver operating characteristic curve for hematogenous metastasis prediction were plotted to verify the optimum cut-off point for tumor markers

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Figure 3: The receiver operating characteristic curve for 2-year survival prediction were plotted to verify the optimum cut-off point for tumor markers

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Figure 4: The receiver operating characteristic curve for 5-year survival prediction were plotted to verify the optimum cut-off point for tumor markers

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Table 2: The AUC values of TMs for lymph node metastasis


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Table 3: The AUC values of TMs for hematogenous metastasis


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Table 4: The AUC values of TMs for 2-year survival


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Table 5: The AUC values of TMs for 5-year survival


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Relations between serum tumor markers and clinicopathological factors with new cut-off values

Based on these new cut-off values, the relations between these serum TMs and clinicopathological factor were analyzed [Table 6]. CA199, CA125 and CA724 were associated with ESCC hematogenous metastasis, and CA199 and CA125 were associated with ESCC lymph node metastasis, but not associated with other clinicopathological factors.
Table 6: Relations between serum tumor markers and clinicopathological factors according to new cut-off values


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Prognosis

A total of 243 cases were treated by surgery. 34 cases were lost after follow-up a period, and treated as Censoring data. The loss ratio of follow-up was 14.00%. The 5-year overall survival was 41.15% by the Kaplan-Meier curves and Log-rank test. The prognosis was better in patients with CA125 ≤ 13.65 U/mL than those with CA125 > 13.65 U/mL [Figure 5]. Tumor length, vascular tumor thrombus, grading, TNM stage, T grade, Lymph node metastasis and CA125 were related with prognosis by univariate analyses [Table 7]. However, multivariate analyses revealed that vascular tumor thrombus, grading, T grade, Lymph node metastasis and CA125 were independent prognostic factors [Table 8].
Figure 5: CA125 and prognosis of esophageal carcinoma patients with the optimum cut-off value. Patients with CA125 ≤ 13.65 U/mL had significantly better prognosis than patients with CA125 > 13.65 U/mL

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Table 7: Univariate analysis of overall survival in ESCC patients


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Table 8: Multivariate analysis of overall survival in ESCC patients


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 > Discussion Top


Carcinoembryonic antigen, which is a special product from cancer of mesodermal origin, is one of the first known TMs. CEA is an important TM in colorectal cancer. [4] Although the elevation of serum CEA was originally thought to be specific for the development of malignant tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, high levels of CEA have also been detected in extra gastrointestinal malignancies in the lung, breast. [5]

Carcinoembryonic antigen, determined alone or in combination with others, is still one of the most applied TMs. Its main clinical applications are prognosis, early diagnosis of recurrence and follow-up of patients with carcinomas. CEA is a useful TM for esophageal adenocarcinoma. [6] However, CEA showed significant difference between ESCC and esophageal adenocarcinoma. [7] The positive rate of CEA in ESCC ranges from 11.4% to 39%, [8],[9] and sensitivity ranges from 4.8% to 30% [10],[11] by other reports. Preoperative CEA did not correlate with clinicopathological factors, [12],[13] and was not a prognostic factor. [14],[15] However, some reports revealed that increased CEA levels were associated with distant metastases. [15],[16] In our study, the positive rate of CEA was 9.9%. CEA was related to hematogenic metastasis, but was not associated with other clinicopathological factors, and was not a prognostic factor, which was similar to other reports. Several reports have suggested that CEA is associated with adhesion of malignant tumors, [17],[18] which would explicate the relations between high CEA and hematogenic metastasis.

Carcinomic antigen (carbohydrate antigen) is identified from tumor cell lines or strains using monoclonal antibody technology. CA125, CA199, CA724, CA242 are the most common carcinomic antigens.

CA125, which is a repeating peptide epitope of the mucin MUC16, [19],[20] is a member of the mucin family glycoproteins. CA125 has been used as a biomarker for ovarian cancer detection and management. [21] It may also be elevated in pancreatic cancer, and CA125 test using in the management of patients with this cancer was also evaluated by previous studies. [22] The positive rate of CA125 in ESCC was 16% in other report, [11] and 4.5% in ours' report. There was no report about the correlations between CA125 and clinicopathological factors or prognosis. To the best of our knowledge, this may be the first report the relations between CA125 and clinicopathological factors or prognosis. We discovered CA125 was associated with hematogenic metastasis and lymph node metastasis and was a independent risk factor when the cut-off value was 13.65 U/mL. CA125 is a repeating peptide epitope of the mucin MUC16, [23] which promotes cancer cell proliferation and inhibits anticancer immune responses. [24] Maybe, that is why CA125 was associated with hematogenic metastasis, lymph node metastasis and prognosis.

CA199, which was extracted from colon cancer cell lines in 1979, is an isolated Lewis antigen of the MUC1 protein. It was originally defined by a monoclonal antibody produced by a hybridoma prepared from the spleen cells of a mouse that had been immunized with the human colorectal carcinoma cell line, SW1116. [25] CA199 was applied in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, and other gastrointestinal tumors as a specificity TM and often in combination use with CEA. The positive rate of CA199 in ESCC was 4.4%, and sensitivity ranges from 6.3% to 23%. The seropositivity of CA199 before treatment had no association with resectability, most clinicopathologic parameters of tumor progression or patient survival. In our study, the positive rate of CA199 was 7.0%. However, we discovered CA199 was associated with hematogenic metastasis and lymph node metastasis when the cut-off value was 9.945 U/mL. CA199 is a ligand of E-selectin that may play a role in the adhesion of cancer cells to endothelial cells, resulting in metastasis. [26] To our knowledge, this may be the first report that CA199 was associated with hematogenic metastasis and lymph node metastasis.

CA242, first isolated in 1985, was obtained by immunization of mice with the human adenocarcinoma cell line COLO 205 and fusion with the Sp 2/0 mouse myeloma cell line. It is a cancer-associated glycoconjugate expressed in mucin and found predominantly in the sera of pancreatic cancer patients. [27] Hence it was used as a TM for pancreatic and colon cancers [28],[29],[30] and also an important serum TM for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

CA724, first described in 1981, is a high molecular weight mucin-like glycoprotein. It was elevated in a variety of cancers, including gastrointestinal, ovarian, endometrium, and lung cancers. [31],[32],[33],[34],[35] CA724 has been identified as a type of Science Translational Medicine specific for gastric cancer [36] and been suggested to be the most sensitive and specific biomarker for gastric cancer. [31] The positive rate of CA724 in ESCC was 42%. The sensitivity of CA 724 was 16-18%, which includes not only ESCC but also esophageal adenocarcinoma, and higher concentrations were found in esophageal adenocarcinoma. CA 724 was not associated with different local, lymphonodular, or metastatic tumor stages. The positive rate of CA724 was 15.6% in our study. CA724 was related to hematogenic metastasis, but was not associated with other clinicopathological factors, and was not a prognostic factor.


 > Conclusion Top


CA125 was nan independent risk factor for the prognosis of ESCC. CEA, CA125, CA199 and CA724 were all associated with hematogenic metastasis, and CA125, CA199 were associated with lymph node metastasis in ESCC. The cut-off values for CA125, CA199 and CA724 should be 13.65 U/mL, 9.945 U/mL and 6.25 U/mL, respectively.


 > Acknowledgment Top


This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang (LQ12H16001) and General Research Project of Zhejiang Medical College (2013XZB02). Contributions made by each of authors toward the manuscript were listed as the followings: Design, definition of intellectual content, literature search, manuscript preparation (Hongguang Zhao); data acquisition, data analysis, statistical analysis (Wenhu Chen); clinical studies, experimental studies (Jie Wu), manuscript editing and review (Lifang Wang); concept (Weimin Mao).

 
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    Figures

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]



 

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