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Cancer Cell death Cell cycle Cytoskeleton Exo/endocytosis Differentiation Division Organelles Signalling Stem cells Trafficking
Cell Biology International (2012) 36, 571–577 (Printed in Great Britain)
Relationship between TWIST expression and epithelial–mesenchymal transition of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma
Yuan Gao, Xiao‑Yan Xuan, Hong‑Yan Zhang, Feng Wang, Qing‑Ru Zeng, Zhi‑Qiang Wang and Shan‑Shan Li1
Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, Key Laboratory of Tumor Pathology of Henan Province, Zhengzhou 450052, Henan Province, Peoples Republic of China


We have investigated mRNA and protein expression of TWIST, Vimentin and E-cadherin in ESCC (oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma) and explored their relationship with tumour's infiltration and metastasis. RT–PCR (reverse transcriptase–PCR) was used to evaluate mRNA expression of TWIST, E-cadherin and Vimentin in 40 cases of ESCC. The protein expression of the genes was examined by immunohistochemical staining in each specimen. Expression of TWIST, E-cadherin and Vimentin mRNA and protein with clinicopathologic parameters were analysed. mRNAs of TWIST, Vimentin and E-cadherin were expressed in 75, 55 and 35% respectively of ESCC, i.e. significantly different from that in normal oesophageal mucosa (15, 0 and 85% respectively; P<0.01). In ESCC with LN (lymph node) metastasis, expression of TWIST and Vimentin mRNA, but not E-cadherin mRNA was significantly higher (100 and 83%) than in ESCC without LN metastasis (64 and 43%, P = 0.018) respectively. Levels of mRNA expression of the 3 genes followed similar patterns to their above-mentioned frequencies. Protein expression of TWIST, E-cadherin and Vimentin were observed in 70, 35 and 50% respectively of ESCC, which were significantly different from normal mucosa (15, 80 and 0%; P<0.001). In ESCC with LN metastasis, protein expression of TWIST and Vimentin, but not E-cadherin, were significantly higher (100 and 75%) than in ESCC without LN metastasis (61 and 39%). Protein expression of TWIST was positively correlated with Vimentin (r = 0.327, P = 0.039), but negatively correlated with E-cadherin (r = −0.633, P = 0.000). Thus, both mRNAs and proteins of TWIST and Vimentin were significantly overexpressed in ESCC, especially ESCC with LN metastasis. The mRNA and protein of E-cadherin were down-regulated in ESCC. These results suggest potential roles of TWIST as the promoter of tumour invasion and metastasis associated with down-regulation of E-cadherin.


Key words: E-cadherin, epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), TWIST, Vimentin

Abbreviations: EMT, epithelial–mesenchymal transition, ESCC, oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma, LN, lymph node, RT–PCR, reverse transcriptase–PCR

1To whom correspondence should be addressed (email lsspath@yahoo.com.cn).


Received 22 March 2010/18 January 2012; accepted 23 February 2012

Published as Cell Biology International Immediate Publication 23 February 2012, doi:10.1042/CBI20100195


© The Author(s) Journal compilation © 2012 International Federation for Cell Biology


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)