Nuclear expression of CXCR4 in tumor cells of non-small cell lung cancer is correlated with lymph node metastasis.Hum Pathol. 2008 Dec; 39(12):1751-5.HP
The stromal-derived factor 1alpha (CXCL12)/chemokine receptor CXCR4 system plays an important role in the metastatic process of a variety of cancers, with CXCR4 frequently expressed by tumor cells homing to CXCL12-rich compartments. The current study evaluated a possible association of CXCR4 expression with lymph node metastasis in primary non-small cell lung cancer. CXCR4 expression levels were evaluated using immunohistology in 46 non-small cell lung cancer specimens of patients without or with lymph node involvement (N0 = 24, N1/N2/N3 = 22). Evaluation of immunostaining was performed semiquantitatively by visual assessment. Statistical analyses with multiple testing adjustments for confirmatory comparisons were performed to assess relevant parameters associated with lymph node metastases. In all samples of non-small cell lung cancer, tumor cells stained positively for cytoplasmic CXCR4. The intensity of the CXCR4 staining varied considerably between specimens: 2 (4%) tumors demonstrated weak cytoplasmic CXCR4, 22 (48%) intermediate, and 22 (48%) strong staining. Membranous staining was absent; however, nuclear staining of CXCR4 was observed in 5 non-small cell lung cancer samples. Statistical analyses of the association between presence of lymph node metastases and CXCR4 expression levels revealed that cytoplasmic CXCR4 expression was not associated with the presence of lymph node metastases. However, nuclear CXCR4 was significantly correlated with increasing lymph node stage (P = .008), linear-to-linear association. The association between aberrant expression of CXCR4 in the nucleus of non-small cell lung cancer and metastasis to lymph nodes points toward a potential tumor metastasis promoting function of nuclear CXCR4.