Identifying Biomarkers in Lymph Node Metastases of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma for Tumor-Targeted Imaging

D. J. J. M. de Gouw, M. Rijpkema, T. J. J. de Bitter, V. M. Baart, C. F. M. Sier, S. Hernot, G. M. van Dam, I. D. Nagtegaal, B. R. Klarenbeek, C. Rosman, R. S. van der Post*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Introduction Tumor-targeted imaging is a promising technique for the detection of lymph node metastases (LNM) and primary tumors. It remains unclear which biomarker is the most suitable target to distinguish malignant from healthy tissue in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). Objective We performed an immunohistochemistry study to identify viable tumor markers for tumor-targeted imaging of EAC. Methods We used samples from 72 patients with EAC to determine the immunohistochemical expression of ten potential tumor biomarkers for EAC (carbonic anhydrase IX [CA-IX], carcinoembryonic antigen [CEA], hepatic growth factor receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor, epithelial membrane antigen [EMA], epithelial cell adhesion molecule [EpCAM], human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 [HER-2], urokinase plasminogen activator receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor-A [VEGF-A], and VEGF receptor 2). Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarrays of LNM (n = 48), primary EACs (n = 62), fibrotic tissues (n = 11), nonmalignant lymph nodes (n = 24), and normal esophageal and gastric tissues (n = 40). Tumor marker staining was scored on intensity and percentage of positive cells. Results EMA and EpCAM showed strong expression in LNM (> 95%) and primary EACs (> 95%). Significant expression was also observed for LNM and EAC using VEGF-A (85 and 92%), CEA (68 and 54%), and CA-IX (4 and 34%). The other tumor biomarkers showed expression of 0-15% for LNM and primary EAC. Except for VEGF-A, nonmalignant lymph node staining was scored as slight or absent. Conclusions High expression rates and correlation between LNM in EAC combined with low expression rates in healthy lymph nodes and esophagus tissues were observed for EpCAM and CEA, meaning these are promising targets for tumor-targeted imaging approaches for lymph nodes in patients with EAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular diagnosis & therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020


  • VEGF
  • PET
  • 1ST

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