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Significance of CD133 expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Hiroshi Okamoto12*, Fumiyoshi Fujishima2, Yasuhiro Nakamura3, Masashi Zuguchi1, Yohei Ozawa1, Yayoi Takahashi2, Go Miyata1, Takashi Kamei1, Toru Nakano1, Yusuke Taniyama1, Jin Teshima1, Mika Watanabe2, Akira Sato1, Noriaki Ohuchi1 and Hironobu Sasano23

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Advanced Surgical Science and Technology, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8574, Japan

2 Department of Pathology, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8574, Japan

3 Department of Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2013, 11:51  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-11-51

Published: 1 March 2013



CD133 was recently reported to be a cancer stem cell marker and a prognostic marker for several tumors. However, few studies have investigated CD133 expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Therefore, we examined whether CD133 could serve as a prognostic marker of ESCC and investigated the correlation between CD133 expression and the clinicopathological findings of ESCC patients and several markers.


We studied 86 ESCC patients who underwent curative surgery without neoadjuvant treatment at Tohoku University Hospital (Sendai, Japan) between January 2000 and December 2005. We analyzed tissue specimens by immunohistochemical staining for CD133, p53, p16, p27, murine double minute 2 (MDM2), Ki-67, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).


Pathological tumor depth and tumor stage were significantly more advanced among CD133-negative patients than among CD133-positive patients. A log-rank test showed that CD133 immunoreactivity was significantly correlated with the overall survival of the patients (P = 0.049). However, multivariate analysis showed that it was not significantly correlated (P = 0.078). Moreover, CD133 was significantly positively correlated with p27 immunoreactivity (P = 0.0013) and tended to be positively correlated with p16 immunoreactivity (P = 0.057). In addition, p16 immunoreactivity was correlated with smoking history (P = 0.018), pathological lymph node status (P = 0.033), and lymphatic invasion (P = 0.018).


This study indicated that CD133 immunoreactivity is a good predictor of prognosis in ESCC patients. In addition, CD133 may play a role in the regulation of tumor cell cycle through p27 and p16 in ESCC. At present, it thus remains controversial whether CD133 expression is a valid prognostic marker for ESCC. To elucidate this relationship, further investigations are required.

AC133; Esophagus; Prominin-1; p16; p27; Stem cell marker