Based on our previous demonstration that elevated cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression is a prognostic factor for reduced survival in patients with adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, the aim of our study was to analyze the role of COX-2 expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. We analyzed COX-2 protein expression from 117 consecutive patients by immunohistochemistry using a COX-2 specific monoclonal antibody. Eighty-one patients had not received any therapy before surgery whereas 36 patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy as part of a randomized controlled trial. In the patients who received no chemotherapy, COX-2 expression was low in 75% and high in 25% of the specimens. In this patient group, high COX-2 expression associated with distal location of the tumor (p = 0.02), but did not correlate with any other clinicopathological parameter tested, including overall survival. In the patient group who received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, postoperative COX-2 expression was low in 69% and high in 31%. Interestingly, in this patient group low COX-2 expression correlated with development of distant metastases (p = 0.03) and to reduced overall survival (p = 0.02). Our results show that the prognostic significance of COX-2 depends on the histological type of esophageal carcinoma and preoperative treatment of the patient. In conclusion, COX-2 is not a prognostic marker in squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus, but low COX-2 expression is associated with poor prognosis in the neoadjuvant-treated patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research