Milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor factor 8 (MFG-E8) is secreted from macrophages and is known to induce immunological tolerance mediated by regulatory T cells. However, the roles of the MFG-E8 that is expressed by cancer cells have not yet been fully examined. Expression of MFG-E8 was examined using immunohistochemistry in surgical samples from 134 patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. The relationships between MFG-E8 expression levels and clinicopathological factors, including tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, were evaluated. High MFG-E8 expression was observed in 23.9% of the patients. The patients with tumors highly expressing MFG-E8 had a significantly higher percentage of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) history (P <.0001) and shorter relapse-free survival (P = 0.012) and overall survival (OS; P =.0047). On subgroup analysis, according to NAC history, patients with high MFG-E8 expression had significantly shorter relapse-free survival (P =.027) and OS (P =.0039) only when they had been treated with NAC. Furthermore, tumors with high MFG-E8 expression had a significantly lower ratio of CD8+ T cells/regulatory T cells in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (P =.042) only in the patients treated with NAC, and those with a lower ratio had a shorter OS (P =.026). High MFG-E8 expression was also found to be an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis. The abundant MFG-E8 expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma might have a negative influence on the long-term survival of patients after chemotherapy by affecting T-cell regulation in the tumor microenvironment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research