Predictive Factors in Esophageal Carcinoma

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Esophageal carcinoma is a malignancy with a poor prognosis and is the sixth cause of cancer related death worldwide. In Sweden approximately 400 new cases are diagnosed every year. The aim of this present thesis was to investigate predictive factors for esophageal carcinoma patients.126 esophageal carcinoma patients admitted to the department of Oncology at the University Hospital in Uppsala between 1990-2000 were investigated with focus on known and potential prognostic factors. Performance status and stage of the disease were the only independent prognostic factors (p-values <0.001).Angiogenic factors VEGF and bFGF were correlated to platelet and leukocyte counts and VEGF was correlated to tumor volume (p=0.04) whereas bFGF was not (p=0.08) in pre-treatment serum samples from 42 esophageal carcinoma patients. The use of the angiogenic factors as prognostic factors, prior to therapy in patients with esophageal carcinoma, according to the results from the present study, seems limited.HER-2 overexpression was seen in 17% of 97 investigated esophageal tumor samples. In squamous cell carcinoma patients, HER-2 overexpression correlated with poorer survival (p=0.035), whereas in adenocarcinoma patients, HER-2 status did not. HER-2 overexpression seems to be associated with poorer survival in esophageal carcinomas, especially in patients with squamous cell esophageal carcinoma.Telomerase activity was detected in all esophageal cell lines, with a broad range of activity levels. No correlation was found between telomerase activity levels and sensitivity to investigated cytotoxic drugs. We therefore conclude that basal telomerase activity level is not a key determinant of sensitivity to standard cytotoxic drugs in esophageal carcinoma cell lines.The virus HPV-16 was detected in 16 % of the patients; no other type HPV was detected. HPV-16 infection had no significant effect on survival (p=0.72). Our results did not show that HPV-16 increases survival or improve therapy response in patients with esophageal carcinoma.