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Expressions and clinical significance of autophagy-related markers Beclin1, LC3, and EGFR in human cervical squamous cell carcinoma

Authors Hu Y, Lei X, Zhang H, Ma J, Yang W, Chen M, Cui J, Zhao H

Received 18 April 2015

Accepted for publication 16 June 2015

Published 24 August 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 2243—2249


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Daniele Santini

Yun-Feng Hu,1 Xia Lei,2 Hong-Yi Zhang,3 Jun-wei Ma,1 Wei-wei Yang,1 Min-lin Chen,1 Jie Cui,1,4 Hong Zhao1

1Department of Oncology, 2Department of Gynecology, 3Department of Urology, Yan’an University Affiliated Hospital, Yan’an, Shaanxi Province, People’s Republic of China; 4Department of Oncology, the First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, People’s Republic of China

Purpose: We aimed to investigate the expression of EGFR and the autophagy-related markers Beclin1 and LC3 in cervical cancer.
Methods: Beclin1, LC3, and EGFR expression were analyzed in 80 samples of cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 40 samples of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and 40 samples of normal cervical tissues by immunohistochemistry. The protein expression rates were analyzed with χ2 and Fisher’s exact tests. Differences in overall survival (OS) were determined using the Kaplan–Meier method and log-rank tests.
Results: Cervical cancer, high-grade CIN, and normal cervical epithelial cells expressed Beclin1 in 26.2%, 77.5%, and 82.5% of patients, respectively, and expressed LC3 in 28.8%, 70.0%, and 75.0% of patients, respectively. There was a significant difference between cervical SCC and high-grade CIN or normal cervical epithelial cells (P=0.000). Cervical cancer cells, high-grade CIN cells, and normal cervical epithelial cells expressed EGFR in 68.8%, 62.5%, and 12.5% of patients, respectively. There was a significant difference between cervical SCC or high-grade CIN and normal cervical epithelial cells (P=0.000). No significant association between Beclin1 or LC3 or EGFR expression and various clinicopathological parameters was observed in cervical SCC. There was no significant correlation between Beclin1, LC3, EGFR expression, and 5-year OS rates of cervical SCC patients. Beclin1- or LC3-negativity with EGFR-positivity in cervical SCC was associated with a higher Federation International of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage (P=0.011 and P=0.013, respectively) and pelvic lymph node metastasis (P=0.036 and P=0.092, respectively). The 5-year OS rates did not significantly differ between Beclin1- or LC3-positive and -negative patients with positive EGFR.
Conclusion: Autophagy was downregulated and EGFR was upregulated in cervical SCC. Autophagy downregulation combined with EGFR upregulation promotes the progression of cervical SCC.

Keywords: autophagy, Beclin1, LC3, EGFR, cervical squamous cell carcinoma, immuno­histochemistry

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