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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Low expression of N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma correlates with a poor prognosis

Wei Cao1, Guozheng Yu2, Qiang Lu3 and Juliang Zhang4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Interventional Radiology, Tangdu Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No.1 Xinshi Road, Xi’an 710038 , Shaanxi, China

2 Department of Interventional Radiology, Shaanxi Cancer Hospital, No.309 Yanta West Road, Xi’an 710061, Shaanxi, China

3 Department of Thoracic Surgery, Tangdu Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, No.1 Xinshi Road, Xi’an 710038, Shaanxi, China

4 Department of Vascular and Endocrine Surgery, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, Shaanxi, China

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:305  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-305

Published: 24 June 2013



It is currently unclear whether a correlation exists between N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (NDRG2) expression and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). The aim of this study was to examine the underlying clinical significance of NDRG2 expression in ESCC patients and to investigate the effects of NDRG2 up-regulation on ESCC cell growth in vitro and in vivo.


Immunohistochemistry was used to determine the level of NDRG2 expressions in ESCC tissue, which was then compared to specific clinicopathological features in the patient and tissue specimens. Factors associated with patient survival were analysed. Moreover, the effects of up-regulating NDRG2 expression on the growth of an ESCC cell line were examined by MTT, colony formation, DNA replication activity and nude mouse model assays.


Notably low expression of NDRG2 in ESCC patients was inversely associated with clinical stage, NM classification, histological differentiation and patients’ vital status (all P < 0.05). ESCC patients expressing high levels of NDRG2 exhibited a substantially higher 5-year overall survival rate than NDRG2-negative patients. Furthermore, NDRG2 over-expression reduced the proliferation, colony formation and DNA replication activity in ESCC cells, as well as inhibiting the growth of ESCC cells in vivo.


The present experiments demonstrated that NDRG2 may be a diagnostic and prognostic marker in patients with ESCC, and up-regulation of NDRG2 might act as a promising therapeutic strategy for aggressive ESCC.

NDRG2; Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC); Prognosis