Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a major cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) product, has been shown to affect numerous tumorigenic processes. PGE2 acts through G-protein-coupled receptors designated as EPs. Recently it has been documented that PGE2 promotes colon cancer cell growth via EP2. However, the expression and the prognostic role of EP2 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) remained unknown. From January 1995 to January 2001, tissue samples from 226 patients with ESCC who underwent esophagectomies at our institutions were collected and made into tissue core arrays for study. EP2 expression was examined by immunohistochemical staining and confirmed by Western blot. The clinicopathologic data were then analyzed. EP2 overexpression was observed in 43.4% (98/226) of ESCC. Overexpression of EP2 correlated positively with depth of tumor invasion (T status) (P = 0.016) and was associated with worse overall survival (P = 0.047). In patients without regional or distant lymph node metastasis (N0 or M0), EP2 overexpression was associated with worse overall survival (P = 0.033 and P = 0.003, respectively). Using Cox regression analysis, T status, N status, and M status were the independent factors of overall survival, but EP2 expression was not. However, when focusing on patients with T1-3N0M0 status, EP2 expression became an independent factor of overall survival (P = 0.048). Our results show that EP2 overexpression was associated with worse prognosis, and correlated positively with T status in ESCC. Meanwhile, among those patients at earlier stages, EP2 overexpression significantly disclosed patients at high risks for poor prognosis.
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