Cancer Sci. 2014 Jul;105(7):905-11. doi: 10.1111/cas.12434. Epub 2014 Jul 1.
Immunophenotypic features of metastatic lymph node tumors to predict recurrence in N2 lung squamous cell carcinoma.
Patients with mediastinal lymph node metastasis (N2) in squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) of the lung have poor prognosis after surgical resection of the primary tumor. The aim of this study was to clarify predictive factors of the recurrence of pathological lung SqCC with N2 focusing on the biological characteristics of both cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in primary and metastatic lymph node tumors. We selected 64 patients with pathological primary lung N2 SqCC who underwent surgical complete resection and investigated the expressions of four epithelial-mesenchymal transition-related markers (caveolin, clusterin, E-cadherin, ZEB2), three cancer stem cell-related markers (ALDH-1, CD44 variant6, podoplanin) of cancer cells, and four markers of CAFs (caveolin, CD90, clusterin, podoplanin) in both primary and matched metastatic lymph node tumors in the N2 area. In the primary tumors, the expressions of all the examined molecules were not related to recurrence. However, in the metastatic lymph node tumors, high clusterin and ZEB2 expressions in the cancer cells and high podoplanin expression in the CAFs were significantly correlated with recurrence (P = 0.03, 0.04, and 0.007, respectively). In a multivariate analysis, only podoplanin expression in the CAFs in metastatic lymph node tumors was identified as a significantly independent predictive factor of recurrence (P = 0.03). Our study indicated that the immunophenotypes of both cancer cells and CAFs in metastatic lymph node tumors, but not primary tumors, provide useful information for predicting the recurrence of pathological N2 lung SqCC.