J Cancer 2017; 8(18):3897-3902. doi:10.7150/jca.20324

Research Paper

Overexpression of α-sma-positive fibroblasts (CAFs) in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Predicts Poor Prognosis

Jiewei Chen1,2*, Pengfei Yang3*, Yongbo Xiao1*, Yijun Zhang1, Jun Liu1, Dan Xie1,2, Muyan Cai1,2, Xinke Zhang1,2✉

1. Department of pathology, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, 510060 Guangzhou, China;
2. State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine;
3. Department of Pathology, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Zhuhai, 519000, China;
*Contributed equally

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Chen J, Yang P, Xiao Y, Zhang Y, Liu J, Xie D, Cai M, Zhang X. Overexpression of α-sma-positive fibroblasts (CAFs) in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Predicts Poor Prognosis. J Cancer 2017; 8(18):3897-3902. doi:10.7150/jca.20324. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p3897.htm

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Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate the differential expression of α-sma-positive fibroblasts (CAFs) in nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPCs), nasopharyngitis, metastatic tissues of NPCs and its prognostic value in NPCs.

Methods: The expression of α-sma-labeled CAFs in 85 NPCs, 32 nasopharyngitis and 12 metastatic tissues of NPCs was detected by immunohistochemical method. The relationship between CAFs and clinicopathological parameters of NPCs was analyzed.

Results: The high density of CAFs in the NPCs, nasopharyngitis and metastatic tissues of NPCs group were 41.2% (35/85), 6.2% (2/32) and 83.3% (10/12), and a significant difference was showed among these three groups (P<0.05). Chi-square test showed that there was no significant correlation between the density of CAFs and gender, age, N stage, treatment (P>0.05), but closely correlated with T stage and relapse (P<0.05). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the mean overall survival of high-density and low-density CAFs was 86.8 months and 127.0 months, respectively. Correspondingly, the 5-year survival rates were 57.1% (20/35) and 90.0% (45/50), and there were inversely statistical differences between two groups (P<0.05). Cox multivariate analysis showed that the density of CAFs could be used as an independent prognostic factor for the survival of NPC patients (P<0.05).

Conclusions: The density of CAFs could be closely related to the metastasis of NPCs, and also is an efficient prediction factor of poor survival in patients with NPCs.

Keywords: α-sma, Nasopharyngeal Carcinomas, CAFs, Prognosis