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Prognostic implications of ezrin and phosphorylated ezrin expression in non-small cell lung cancer

Tiefeng Jin1, Jingchun Jin2, Xiangyu Li3, Songnan Zhang3, Yun Ho Choi4, Yingshi Piao1, Xionghu Shen3* and Zhenhua Lin12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology & Cancer Research Center, Yanbian University Medical College, Yanji 133002, China

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Yanbian University Hospital, Yanji 133000, China

3 Department of Oncology, Yanbian University Hospital, Yanji 133000, China

4 Department of Anatomy, Medical School, Institute for Medical Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Republic of Korea

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:191  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-191

Published: 15 March 2014



The cytoskeletal organizer ezrin is a member of the ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) family and plays important roles in not only cell motility, cell adhesion, and apoptosis, but also in various cell signaling pathways. Phosphorylation at Thr-567 and Tyr-353 are key regulatory events in the transition of the dormant to active form of ezrin. This study investigated the prognostic implications of ezrin and phosphorylated ezrin (p-ezrin) expression in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).


Ezrin and p-ezrin protein expressions were examined by immunohistochemistry in 150 NSCLC and adjacent non-tumor tissues and 14 normal lung tissues. qRT-PCR was used to determine ezrin mRNA expression levels in fresh tissues. The correlations between overexpression of ezrin and p-ezrin and the clinicopathological features of NSCLC were analyzed. The survival rates were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method for 108 NSCLC cases.


Ezrin and ezrinThr-567 proteins showed cytosolic and membranous staining patterns; however, ezrinTyr-353 protein only showed cytosolic staining. Ezrin and p-ezrin were significantly upregulated in NSCLC compared with the normal counterparts. Increased ezrin, ezrinThr-567, and ezrinTyr-353 levels were correlated with the late stage and poor differentiation of NSCLC. However, only ezrinThr-567 was correlated with the presence of lymph node metastasis. In regard to survival, only ezrinThr-567 was related with the overall survival time of patients with NSCLC, and both ezrin and ezrinThr-567 were associated with shortened survival time for patients with early stage NSCLC.


Ezrin and p-ezrin, especially ezrinThr-567, may prove to be useful as a novel prognostic biomarker of NSCLC.

Lung cancer; Ezrin; Phosphorylated ezrin; Immunohistochemistry; Survival analysis