To gain a better understanding of the etiology of esophageal cancer, we performed a study that detected HPV DNA in esophageal cancer specimens from different geographical regions and ethnic groups. HPV has been found repeatedly in esophageal carcinoma tissues. However, reported detection rates of HPV DNA in these tumors have varied markedly. Differences in detection methods, sample types, and geographic regions of sample origin have been suggested as potential causes of this discrepancy. HPV L1 DNA and HPV genotypes were evaluated in 435 esophageal carcinoma specimens collected from four geographic regions with different ethnicities including Anyang in north China, Shantou in south China, Xinjiang in west China, and the United States. The HPV L1 fragment was detected using SPF1/GP6+ primers. HPV genotyping was performed using genotype specific PCR. Two hundred and forty four of 435 samples (56.1%) tested positive for HPV L1. Significant differences in detection rate were observed neither among the three areas of China nor between China and the US. HPV6, 16, 18, 26, 45, 56, 57, and 58 were identified in L1 positive samples. HPV16 and 57 were the most common types in all regions, followed by HPV26 and HPV18. HPV infection is common in esophageal carcinoma independent of region and ethnic group of origin. Findings in this study raise the possibility that HPV is involved in esophageal carcinogenesis. Further investigation with a larger sample size over broader geographic areas may be warranted. We also studied the microRNA expression patterns in esophageal samples and identified microRNAs associated with patients survival. The dismal outcome of esophageal cancer patients highlights the need for novel prognostic biomarkers, such as microRNAs (miRNA). Although recent studies have established the role of miRNAs in esophageal carcinoma, a comprehensive multicenter study investigating different histologic types, including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma with or without Barrett's, is still lacking. miRNA expression was measured in cancerous and adjacent noncancerous tissue pairs collected from 100 adenocarcinoma and 70 SCC patients enrolled at four clinical centers from the United States, Canada, and Japan. Microarray-based expression was measured in a subset of samples in two cohorts and was validated in all available samples. In adenocarcinoma patients, miR-21, miR-223, miR-192, and miR-194 expression was elevated, whereas miR-203 expression was reduced in cancerous compared with noncancerous tissue. In SCC patients, we found elevated miR-21 and reduced miR-375 expression levels in cancerous compared with noncancerous tissue. When comparing cancerous tissue expression between adenocarcinoma and SCC patients, miR-194 and miR-375 were elevated in adenocarcinoma patients. Significantly, elevated miR-21 expression in noncancerous tissue of SCC patients and reduced levels of miR-375 in cancerous tissue of adenocarcinoma patients with Barrett's were strongly associated with worse prognosis. Associations with prognosis were independent of tumor stage or nodal status, cohort type, and chemoradiation therapy. Our multicenter-based results highlight miRNAs involved in major histologic types of esophageal carcinoma and uncover significant associations with prognosis. Elucidating miRNAs relevant to esophageal carcinogenesis is potentially clinically useful for developing prognostic biomarkers and identifying novel drug targets and therapies. Building upon our findings with miRNAs in esophageal cancer, we then determined if the combination of inflammatory gene and miRNA expression patterns could be used as a prognostic classifier of esophageal cancer. We measured the expression of 23 inflammation-associated genes in tumors and adjacent normal tissues from 93 patients (58 Barrett's and 35 Sporadic adenocarcinomas) by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. These data were used to build an inflammatory risk model, based on multivariate Cox regression, to predict survival in a training cohort (n = 47). We then determined whether this model could predict survival in a cohort of 46 patients. Expression data for miRNA-375 were available for these patients and was combined with inflammatory gene expression. IFN-gamma, IL-1 alpha, IL-8, IL-21, IL-23, and proteoglycan expression in tumor and nontumor samples were each associated with poor prognosis based on Cox regression [(Z-score)>1.5] and therefore were used to generate an inflammatory risk score (IRS). Patients with a high IRS had poor prognosis compared with those with a low IRS in the training (P = 0.002) and test (P = 0.012) cohorts. This association was stronger in the group with Barrett's history. When combining with miRNA-375, the combined IRS/miR signature was an improved prognostic classifier than either one alone. Transcriptional profiling of inflammation-associated genes and miRNA expression in resected esophageal Barrett's-associated adenocarcinoma tissues may have clinical utility as predictors of prognosis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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National Cancer Institute Division of Basic Sciences
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Wang, Xueqian; Tian, Xiuyun; Liu, Fangfang et al. (2010) Detection of HPV DNA in esophageal cancer specimens from different regions and ethnic groups: a descriptive study. BMC Cancer 10:19
Nguyen, Giang Huong; Schetter, Aaron J; Chou, David B et al. (2010) Inflammatory and microRNA gene expression as prognostic classifier of Barrett's-associated esophageal adenocarcinoma. Clin Cancer Res 16:5824-34
Mathé, Ewy A; Nguyen, Giang Huong; Bowman, Elise D et al. (2009) MicroRNA expression in squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus: associations with survival. Clin Cancer Res 15:6192-200