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Open Access Research

Prognostic implication of neuropilin-1 upregulation in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Yu Xu1*, Peizhong Li1, Xin Zhang1, Junying Wang1, Dongsheng Gu1 and Yao Wang2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Huai’an First People’s Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, 6 Beijing Road West, Huai’an, Jiangsu 223300, P. R. China

2 Pharmaceutical Preparation Section, Huai’an First People’s Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, 6 Beijing Road West, Huai’an, Jiangsu 223300, P. R. China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:155  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-155

Published: 20 September 2013

Abstract

Objective

As a receptor for both vascular endothelial growth factors and semaphorin, neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) is reported to be up-regulated in cells of several cancers. However, its roles in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) are still unclear. Therefore, the goal of this study was to investigate the expression pattern of NRP-1 in NPC tissues, to clarify the clinical significance of NRP-1 expression in NPC as well as the potential prognostic implication of NRP-1 expression.

Methods

Immunohistochemistry was performed to detect the expression of NRP-1 in tumor tissue samples from 266 NPC patients. The association of NRP-1 protein expression with the clinicopathological characteristics and the prognosis of NPC were subsequently assessed.

Results

Immunohistochemical analysis showed that 176 of 266 (66.17%) paraffin-embedded archival NPC biopsies showed high expression of NRP-1, but no non-cancerous nasopharyngeal specimens showed positive expression of NRP-1. In addition, high NRP-1 expression was significantly associated with advanced clinical stage (P = 0.02), positive recurrence (P = 0.001) and metastasis status (P = 0.001) of NPC. Moreover, the NPC patients with higher NRP-1 expression had shorter overall survival, whereas patients with lower NRP-1 expression had better survival (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the multivariate analysis indicated that the overexpression of NRP-1 protein was an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (P = 0.001) in NPC patients.

Conclusion

These findings suggest for the first time that NRP-1 upregulation may be a novel biomarker for the prediction of advanced tumor progression and unfavorable prognosis in NPC patients who may benefit from alternative treatment strategy and targeted treatment.

Virtual slides

The virtual slides for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1507827881105018 webcite.

Keywords:
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Neuropilin-1; Expression; Immunohistochemistry; Prognosis