Retrospective Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2022. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Sep 26, 2022; 10(27): 9657-9669
Published online Sep 26, 2022. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v10.i27.9657
Prognostic significance of sex determining region Y-box 2, E-cadherin, and vimentin in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
Chao Li, Yu-Qing Ma
Chao Li, Department of RICU, The First Affiliated Hospital, Xinjiang Medical University, Urumqi 830054, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China
Yu-Qing Ma, Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Xinjiang Medical University, Urumqi 830054, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China
Author contributions: Li C and Ma YQ contributed to the conception and design; Ma YQ contributed to the administrative support; Li C contributed to the provision of study materials or patients, collection and assembly of data, performed the data analysis and interpretation; All authors contributed to the manuscript writing and final approval of manuscript.
Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81860422.
Institutional review board statement: This study was approved by Ethical Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University (20180223-08). Prior to the operation, each patient was clearly informed about the procedures, extraction of tissues, and pathological examination.
Informed consent statement: All study participants or their legal guardian provided informed written consent about personal and medical data collection prior to study enrolment.
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
Data sharing statement: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Yu-Qing Ma, MD, Doctor, Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Xinjiang Medical University, No. 137 Liyu Mountain South Road, Xinshi District, Urumqi 830054, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China.
Received: May 17, 2022
Peer-review started: May 17, 2022
First decision: June 16, 2022
Revised: June 30, 2022
Accepted: August 21, 2022
Article in press: August 21, 2022
Published online: September 26, 2022
Research background

Sex determining region Y-box 2 (SOX2) is a promoter of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and high expression of SOX2 is related to the proliferation, migration, and invasion of SCC. However, there is limited knowledge of the relationship between SOX2 and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in esophageal SCC (ESCC).

Research motivation

Single cell sequencing proteomics studies can characterize the heterogeneity of cells within a tissue. For example, studies using this method reported that SOX2 was only expressed in epithelial cells, and was highly expressed in the epithelial cells of ESCC. Our previous bioinformatics research using TCGA database found that SOX2 expression was closely related to the EMT and the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in ESCC. The present study was performed to verify the role of SOX2 during the EMT in ESCC and to determine its value as a prognostic indicator in these patients.

Research objectives

Perform tissue-level studies to determine if SOX2 is related to the EMT and clinicopathological characteristics in ESCC patients, and its possible role as a prognostic indicator in these patients.

Research methods

The expression of SOX2, vimentin, and E-cadherin were determined by immunohistochemical staining and scoring, and the relationship between SOX2 expression and two classical marker proteins of the EMT was analyzed.

Research results

SOX2 had higher expression in ESCC than normal tissue, and its expression had positive correlations with the tumor invasion and tumor size. There was a negative correlation between SOX2 and overall survival, and SOX2 expression was an independent risk factor for prognosis of patients with ESCC. There was also a positive correlation between the expression of SOX2 and vimentin. SOX2 may promote the EMT in ESCC due to its direct or indirect interaction with vimentin.

Research conclusions

SOX2 expression is an important prognostic indicator in patients with ESCC, and it appears to promote the migration, invasion, and infiltration of ESCC via vimentin.

Research perspectives

Our clinical experiments indicated a correlation of SOX2 expression with the EMT and with activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. It is possible that inhibition of SOX2 expression in ESCC will inhibit the EMT, reduce tumor invasiveness, and improve patient prognosis.