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Predictive significance of HMGCS2 for prognosis in resected Chinese esophageal squamous cell carcinoma patients

Authors Tang H, Wu Y, Qin Y, Wang H, Jia Y, Yang S, Luo S, Wang Q

Received 17 January 2017

Accepted for publication 22 April 2017

Published 15 May 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2553—2560


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Samir Farghaly

Hong Tang,1,* Yufeng Wu,1,* Yanru Qin,2 Hongyan Wang,1 Yongxu Jia,2 Shujun Yang,1 Suxia Luo,1 Qiming Wang1

1Department of Internal Medicine, Affiliated Cancer Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Henan Cancer Hospital, 2Department of Clinical Oncology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan, Hong Kong, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Despite a series of attempts during the last decades, the prognosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remains poor. Different responses of individual tumors encouraged us to look for valuable prognostic markers. As a key regulator controlling the anabolic ketogenic pathway, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase 2 (HMGCS2) has been reported to play a crucial role in colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. However, its importance to ESCC has not been verified. Therefore, a large cohort retrospective study was planned, to investigate the relationship between HMGCS2 expression and ESCC prognosis. By adopting real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, HMGCS2 expression was examined in tissues of 300 ESCC patients with complete resection. Besides, the association between HMGCS2 protein expression and survival time was evaluated through chi-square test and Kaplan–Meier analysis. With the use of Cox-proportional hazards model, the prognostic impact of clinicopathologic variables and biomarker expression was evaluated. Compared with their non-tumor counterparts, HMGCS2 downregulation occurred in 65.5% and 37.6% of primary ESCCs on the mRNA and protein levels (P<0.001), respectively. On the protein level, HMGCS2 expression was associated with tumor cell differentiation (P=0.003), pT status (P=0.006), and TNM stage (P=0.010). In the down-HMGCS2 expression group, the 5-year overall survival (OS) and relapse-free survival (RFS) are poorer than those in the normal expression group (19 months vs 24 months, P=0.002; 13 months vs 17 months, P=0.007, respectively). According to the TNM stage, stratified analysis revealed that its discernibility on RFS was only pronounced in patients with advanced clinical stage (P=0.001). In addition, multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that HMGCS2 expression was an independent risk factor for RFS (P=0.032) instead of OS (P=0.099). The findings of this study provided the evidence that HMGSC2 represented a potential novel prognostic biomarker for ESCC patients.

Keywords: HMGCS2, ESCC, prognosis, down-regulation, IHC, Chinese

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