Overexpression of N-cadherin and β-catenin correlates with poor prognosis in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.Oncol Lett 2017; 13(3):1725-1730OL
An increasing amount of evidence demonstrates that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is important in tumor invasion and metastases. The cell-cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin and the Wnt/β-catenin cascade protein β-catenin are two biomarkers of EMT. The present study aimed to measure the expression levels of N-cadherin and β-catenin in samples from patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and evaluate their prognostic significance. N-cadherin and β-catenin mRNA was evaluated using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction in 26 NPC tissue samples and 8 nasopharyngeal epithelium samples. Protein expression of N-cadherin and β-catenin was also detected using immunohistochemistry in 128 archival NPC paraffin-embedded specimens. Finally, associations between clinical pathological parameters and prognostic values in NPC were evaluated. The results demonstrated that both the mRNA and protein levels of N-cadherin and β-catenin were significantly increased in NPC tissues compared with the controls. Enhanced expression of N-cadherin and β-catenin protein was strongly correlated with the status of lymph node metastasis and clinical stages in patients with NPC. Notably, high expression of N-cadherin and β-catenin proteins was significantly correlated with lower overall survival (OS) rate in patients with NPC. Finally, multivariate analysis demonstrated that expression of N-cadherin protein and clinical stages were independent prognostic factors for patients with NPC. Therefore, the present study demonstrated that N-cadherin and β-catenin expression may be used as potential prognostic biomarkers for patients with NPC.