Article Text

Download PDFPDF
ZEB1 expression is associated with prognosis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma


Background/Aim Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is one of the most aggressive malignant tumours, so the identification of molecular targets for ICC is an important issue. Zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) is a key inducer of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). The aim of the present study was to clarify the clinical significance of ZEB1 in ICC and the associations between ZEB1 expression and EMT-related proteins.

Methods We immunohistochemically examined the expression of EMT-related proteins, namely ZEB1, vimentin and E-cadherin, in ICC specimens from 102 patients. The clinicopathological and prognostic values of these markers were evaluated.

Results ZEB1 and vimentin were expressed in 46.1% and 43.1% of tumours, respectively, and E-cadherin expression was lost in 44.1% of tumours. ZEB1 expression showed a significant inverse correlation with E-cadherin expression (p=0.004) and a positive correlation with vimentin expression (p=0.022). Altered expression of ZEB1 was associated with aggressive tumour characteristics, including advanced tumour stage (p=0.037), undifferentiated-type histology (p=0.017), lymph node metastasis (p=0.024) and portal vein invasion (p=0.037). Moreover, overall survival rates were significantly lower for patients with high ZEB1 expression than for patients with low ZEB1 expression (p=0.027). Kaplan–Meier analysis also identified E-cadherin expression (p=0.041) and vimentin expression (p=0.049) as prognostic indicators for overall survival.

Conclusions ZEB1 expression is associated with tumour progression and poor prognosis in patients with ICC through positive correlations with vimentin and negative correlations with E-cadherin. ZEB1 expression is associated with a poor prognosis and might be an attractive target for the treatment of ICC.


Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.