Association of the expression of unc-51-Like kinase 1 with lymph node metastasis and survival in patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Lin Jiang; Ben-Song Duan; Jun-Xing Huang; Xia Jiao; Xiao-Wei Zhu; Hai-Hui Sheng; Heng-Jun Gao; Hong Yu
June 2014
International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Medicine;2014, Vol. 7 Issue 5, p1349
Academic Journal
Unc-51-Like Kinase 1 (ULK1) is regarded as a central role in autophagy. Although the details of how ULK1 triggers autophagy are obscure, the relationship between ULK1 expression and the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer patients may guide the clinical practice and scientific research. The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the expression level of ULK1 in 86 paired esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and paracancerous tissues, and to examine the effect of ULK1 expression on the prognosis of ESCC patients. ULK1 was primarily expressed in cytoplasm, but was rarely seen in nucleus. The levels of cytoplasmic ULK1 in ESCC tissues were higher than those in paracancerous tissue (P < 0.01) and significantly associated with lymph node metastasis (LNM) (P = 0.025). Survival analysis showed that patients with low expression of cytoplasmic ULK1 had worse survival time than those with high expression of cytoplasmic ULK1 (hazard ratio = 1.754, 95% confidence interval: 1.022-3.010, P = 0.041), which disappeared after adjustment for TNM stages and LNM (P = 0.319). In conclusion, ULK1 might play an important role in the occurrence and development of ESCC and represent a potential prognostic biomarker for ESCC patients. However, the precise impact of ULK1 on predicting the prognosis of patients with ESCC requires further investigation.


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