Cytokeratin 15 is an Effective Indicator for Progression and Malignancy of Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinomas


Shanxi Medical University in China, Taiyuan, China


Purpose: To compare the expression level of CK 15 in normal esophageal and esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma (ESCC) tissues and analyse possible functions of CK15 in occurrence and development. Materials and Methods: Immunohistochemistry was used to compare CK14, CK15 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression levels in ESCCs . Expression level of CK15 was also assessed by Western blotting. In addition, levels of CK15, cytokeratin 19 fragment antigen 21-1 (CYFRA21-1) and PCNA were detected in serum by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and chemiluminescence methods. Relationships between clinicopathological parameters and CK14 and CK15 expression were then analyzed. Results: According to immunohistochemistry, in esophageal and intraepithelial neoplasia (SIN) tissues, the expression of CK14, CK15 and PCNA localized to basal layer of the epithelium. CK14 and CK15 levels were higher in normal esophageal squamous epithelial tissue than in SIN and ESCC, and greater in highly differentiated than poorly differentiated carcinoma tissue. By Western blotting, we found more pronounced expression of CK15 in normal esophageal tissue, compared with carcinoma tissue. The specificity of changed CK15 and CYFRA21-1 expression was respectively 90.0% and 96.7% in serum of ESCC patients. Joint detection could improve the sensitivity of esophageal carcinoma diagnosis. Relationships between CK14, CK15 expression and clinical parameters were not statistically significant (P>0.05). Postoperative survival in patients of CK14, CK15 positive expression was longer than with negative expression (4.352, P0.037; 9.852, P0.002). Conclusions: CK15 expression decreased in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma tissue and serum of esophageal squamous carcinoma patients. We infer that CK15 may play an important role for the occurrence and development of esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma. In the future, CK15 may be used for the diagnosis, treatment and prognostic evaluation of esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma.