Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a common malignant tumor of the head and neck region with poorly understood progression and prognosis. The present study aims at exploring whether the expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin affects clinicopathological features and prognostic significance in NPC.
We enrolled 164 patients with NPC and 70 patients with chronic nasopharyngitis (CNP) in this study. Reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were conducted to evaluate the expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin. Spearman's rank correlation analysis and Pearson correlation analysis were used to measure the correlation of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin. Risk factors for prognosis and survival conditions of NPC patients were analyzed by Cox proportional hazards model and Kaplan-Meier curves.
The results obtained revealed that mRNA and protein expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin was higher in NPC tissues than in CNP tissues. Positive correlations amongst β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin were identified by Spearman's rank correlation analysis and Pearson correlation analysis. There was a significant correlation in expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin with EBV DNA, EBV-VCA-IgA, EBV-EA-IgA, T stage, N stage, and clinicopathological stages. Lower overall survival (OS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), local recurrence-free survival (LRFS), and disease-free survival (DFS) rates were detected in NPC patients with positive expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin, in contrast to those with negative expression. Cox proportional hazards model demonstrated that β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin protein positive expression were independent risk factors for OS and DFS of NPC prognosis; there was an evident correlation between clinicopathological stages, TCF-4, and EBV-EA-IgA and OS, DMFS, LRFS, and DFS of NPC.
The aforementioned results indicate that β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin proteins are highly expressed in NPC, which can be used as factors to predict the malignancy of NPC. In addition, positive expression of β-catenin, TCF-4, and survivin are potential risk factors that lead to an unfavorable prognosis of OS and DFS in NPC patients.