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Expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) as a biomarker for aggressive pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Yan Huang13*, Guo-Ping Ren2, Chao Xu1, Shui-Feng Dong1, Ying Wang1, Yun Gan1, Li Zhu1 and Tian-Yuan Feng1

Author Affiliations

1 The First People’s Hospital of Yuhang District, 311100 Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

2 The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, 311100 Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

3 The Department of Pathology, The First People’s Hospital of Yuhang District, 311100 Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:479  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-479

Published: 3 July 2014



Altered expression of astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is associated with tumorigenesis and progression. The present study aimed to investigate the clinical and prognostic significance of AEG-1 expression in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).


Quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and Western blot analyses were employed to assess AEG-1 expression in three pancreatic cancer cell lines and normal pancreatic duct epithelial cells. qRT-PCR and immunohistochemical analyses were performed to detect AEG-1 expression in ten pairs of PDAC and normal pancreas tissues. Immunohistochemistry was then used to examine AEG-1 expression in paraffin-embedded tissues obtained from 105 patients, and its association with clinicopathological parameters including cancer classification was examined. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to study the survival rates of patients.


Expression of AEG-1 mRNA and protein was markedly higher in pancreatic cancer cell lines than that in the normal pancreatic duct epithelial cells. AEG-1 expression was evidently upregulated in PDAC tissues compared to that of the matched distant normal pancreas tissues. qRT-PCR data revealed that the tumor/non-tumor ratio of AEG-1 expression was >1.5-fold (up to 6.5-fold). Immunohistochemical data showed that AEG-1 protein was detected in 98.09% (103/105) of PDAC tissues; and they were found to be associated with tumor size (P = 0.025), advanced clinical stage (P = 0.004), T classification (P = 0.006), N classification (P = 0.003), and M classification (P = 0.007). Furthermore, Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that patients with high AEG-1-expressed PDAC had shorter overall survival. A multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that clinical stage, T classification, and AEG-1 expression were the independent prognostic predictors for PDAC.


This study suggests that AEG-1 protein was highly expressed in PDAC and associated with poor prognosis of the patients.

AEG-1; Biomarker; Prognosis; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma