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Chemokines and their receptors as biomarkers in esophageal cancer

  • Masakazu GotoEmail author
  • Mingyao Liu
Review Article


Esophageal cancer (EC) is one of the most lethal malignancies of the digestive tract and remains to be improved poor prognosis. Two histological subtypes, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), are major characteristics of EC. Deep understanding about both subtypes is essential to overcome EC. Here, we focus on chemokines and their receptors as biomarkers and their current applications for the prognosis in EC. We reviewed relevant articles identified using PubMed database for the chemokines and their receptors in EC analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The primary objective is to summarize evidences for them as prognostic biomarkers in EC. A total of twenty-one articles were reviewed after exclusion. Most studies have been done in ESCC, and less in EAC. CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 have been shown in both subtypes as biomarkers. CXCR7, CXCL8 and its receptor CXCR2, and CCL21 and its receptor CCR7 have been examined in ESCC. Although it was a small number of reports, CXCL10, CCL4, and CCL5 have been indicated to have anti-tumor effects in ESCC. Chemokines and their receptors have the potential to be the biomarkers in EC. Comparative studies between ESCC and EAC will reveal the similarity and difference in these two subtypes of EC. These studies may indicate whether these molecules play important roles in both subtypes or are unique to one or another.


Esophageal cancer Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma Esophageal adenocarcinoma Chemokine Biomarker 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Hae-Ra Cho for her help in preparation of this manuscript. M. Liu is James and Mary Davie chair in lung injury, repair, and regeneration, supported by research grants from Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Ontario Research Fund.



Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical Statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10388_2019_706_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (52 kb)
Supplemental Fig. 1. Structures and groups of chemokines. Chemokines are classified into four groups (CXC, CC, C, and CX3C) based on the position of the first two N-terminal cysteine residues
10388_2019_706_MOESM2_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 15 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 21 kb)
10388_2019_706_MOESM4_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 17 kb)
10388_2019_706_MOESM5_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Japan Esophageal Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratories, Toronto General Hospital Research InstituteUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Departments of Surgery, Medicine and Physiology, Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.MaRS CentreTorontoCanada

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