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Clinicopathological significance of SOX4 expression in primary gallbladder carcinoma

Chengguo Wang, Huadong Zhao, Jianguo Lu, Jikai Yin, Li Zang, Nuan Song, Rui Dong, Tao Wu* and Xilin Du*

Author Affiliations

Department of general surgery, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an 710038, People's Republic of China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:41  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-41

Published: 17 April 2012



SOX4, as a member of the SRY-related HMG-box (SOX) transcription factor family, has been demonstrated to be involved in tumorigenesis of many human malignancies; however, its role in primary gallbladder carcinoma (PGC) is still largely unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate SOX4 expression in PGC and its prognostic significance.


From 1997 to 2006, 136 patients underwent resection for PGC. The median follow-up was 12.8 months. Immunostainings for SOX4 were performed on these archival tissues. The correlation of SOX4 expression with clinicopathological features including survival was analyzed.


SOX4 was expressed in 75.0% (102/136) of PGC but not in the normal epithelium of the gallbladder. In addition, the over-expression of SOX4 was significantly associated with low histologic grade (P = 0.02), low pathologic T stage (P = 0.02), and early clinical stage (P = 0.03). The levels of SOX4 immunostainings in PGC tissues with positive nodal metastasis were also significantly lower than those without (P = 0.01). Moreover, Kaplan-Meier curves showed that SOX4 over-expression was significantly related to better overall (P = 0.008) and disease-free survival (P = 0.01). Furthermore, multivariate analyses showed that SOX4 expression was an independent risk factor for both overall (P = 0.03, hazard ratio, 3.682) and disease-free survival (P = 0.04, hazard ratio, 2.215).


Our data indicate for the first time that the over-expression of SOX4 in PGC was significantly correlated with favorable clinicopathologic features and was an independent prognostic factor for better overall and disease-free survival in patients. Therefore, SOX4 might be an auxiliary parameter for predicting malignant behavior for PGC.

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Primary gallbladder carcinoma; SOX4; Clinicopathology; Overall survival; Disease-free survival