The AXL receptor tyrosine kinase has been suggested as a prognostic factor and a therapeutic target in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Whether AXL play some role in the prognosis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is unknown. We aim to investigate the association of AXL expression in tumor tissues with the prognosis of patients with ESCC.


The study was analyzed retrospectively. A total of 57 patients diagnosed with ESCC were enrolled in the study. AXL expression in esophageal timorous tissues was detected by immunnohistochemisty (IHC), and was correlated with the overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival (PFS) of patients by multivariate Cox regression analysis and Kaplan-Meier survival function.


AXL could be detected in 38 patients (66.7%). Elevated expression of AXL was associated with increased risk of both death and recurrence (HR[95 % CI]=1.46 [1.05-2.04], Ptrend=0.026 in death and HR[95 % CI]=1.75[1.24-2.48], Ptrend=0.002 in recurrence). Patents expressing high levels of AXL (n=25, 43.9 %) exhibited a 2.15 fold increased risk of recurrence compared to those absence or with low level of AXL (HR[95 % CI]=2.15[1.08-4.28], P=0.029). Kaplan-Meier survival function demonstrated that the progression-free duration was significantly different among the patients expressing different levels of AXL (log-rank P=0.029).


Expression of AXL in esophageal tumor tissues is a prognostic predictor of ESCC. The results revealed AXL could also be a therapeutic target of ESCC.

Citation Format: Pei-Wen Yang, Min-Shu Hsieh, Ya-Chuan Huang, Tzu-Hsuan Chiang, Jang-Ming Lee. AXL receptor tyrosine kinase is associated with the prognosis of patients with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2014 Apr 5-9; San Diego, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2014;74(19 Suppl):Abstract nr 4405. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2014-4405