Prolactin (PRL), placenta growth factor (PIGF) and nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) as biomarkers for early diagnosis and prognosis in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC)

Xiaohong Ai, Xiaoxi Zhu, Jianhong Zuo

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the expression and clinical significance of prolactin (PRL), placenta growth factor (PIGF) and nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).
Methods: PRL, PIGF and NGFR were selected through being screened normal human and esophageal cancer (EC) plasma by high-throughput protein chips. Subsequently, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were used to detect the expression in ESCC and control group. Then, its clinical significance was statistically evaluated.
Results: The expression of PRL, PIGF and NGFR in plasma and tissue of patients with EC was higher than healthy controls and adjacent tissue, respectively. Among the clinical parameters, the expression of PRL and NGFR protein was correlated with the tumor classification of ESCC (P<0.05), while PIGF protein was correlated with the clinical stage of ESCC (P<0.05). The area under the ROC (AUC) of PRL, PIGF, and NGFR in plasma was 0.69, 0.72, and 0.66 in separately. Furthermore, the combined detection of three proteins had a better AUC of 0.74 with a sensitivity of 66.7% and a specificity of 72.4%. Kaplan- Meier survival analysis revealed that positive expression of PRL, PIGF and NGFR in histological predicted significantly worse overall survival (OS) than negative expression (P<0.05).
Conclusions: PRL, PIGF and NGFR are promising biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis prediction of ESCC.