Objective: Desmogleins (DSGs) are major members among the desmosomal cadherins critically involved incell-cell adhesion and the maintenance of normal tissue architecture in epithelia. Reports exploring links of DSGfamily member expression with cancers are few and vary. The aim of this study was to investigate the ratio ofDSG2 and DSG3 mRNA expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissue to normal tissue (T/Nratio) and evaluate correlations with clinical parameters.
Methods: The mRNA expression of DSGs, as well asγ-catenin and desmoplakin, was detected by real-time quantitative RT-PCR in 85 cases of ESCC tissue specimens.
Results: The expression level of DSG3 mRNA was significantly higher than that of DSG2 in ESCC specimens (p= 0.000). DSG3 mRNA expression highly correlated with histological grade (p = 0.009), whereas that of DSG2did not significantly relate to any clinicopathologic parameter. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that onlyDSG3 expression had an impact on the survival curve, with negative DSG3 expression indicating worse survival(p = 0.038). Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated DSG3 to be an independent prognostic factorfor survival. Furthermore, correlation analysis demonstrated the mRNA level of DSG3 to highly correlate withthose of γ-catenin and desmoplakin in ESCC samples (p=0.000), implying that the expression of desmosomalcomponents might be regulated by the same upstream regulatory molecules.
Conclusions: Our findings suggestthat DSG3 may be involved in the progression of ESCC and serve as a prognostic marker, while expression ofDSG2 cannot be used as a predictor of ESCC patient outcome.