Extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer (EMMPRIN) and the type II transmembrane serine protease, matriptase, are expressed in several human cancers and play an important role in tumor progression. The aim of the present study was to investigate the immuno-staining patterns of EMMPRIN and matriptase in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and correlate the percentage tumor staining with tumor differentiation and clinical parameters. EMMPRIN and matriptase immunoreactivity was seen on the cell membrane and in the cytoplasm of tumor cells in all 41 cases of esophageal SCC evaluated. The percentage tumor staining of EMMPRIN was 48±3% for well differentiated, 73±3% for moderately differentiated, and 92±3% for poorly differentiated esophageal SCC. Higher percentage tumor staining with EMMPRIN correlated significantly with poorly differentiated esophageal SCC (P <0.05). The percentage tumor staining with matriptase correlated significantly with tumor differentiation (52±3% for well differentiated, 85±2% for moderately differentiated, and 88±3% for poorly differentiated esophageal SCC). Additionally, higher percentage tumor staining with matriptase was significantly correlated with the advanced N and M stages (P <0.05). Our results demonstrate that EMMPRIN and matriptase are over-expressed in esophageal SCC and are correlated with advanced clinicopathological stages. Pharmacological agents targeting EMMPRIN and matriptase expressions may be beneficial in the treatment of esophageal SCC.
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