Increased expression of CD133 and reduced dystroglycan expression are strong predictors of poor outcome in colon cancer patients
1 Dipartimento di Scienze Chirurgiche, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
2 Istituto di Anatomia Patologica, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
3 Istituto di Patologia Generale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo Francesco Vito 1, Rome 00168, Italy
4 Dipartimento Misto di Anatomia Patologica e di Medicina Legale, Sezione di Anatomia Patologica, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 2012, 31:71 doi:10.1186/1756-9966-31-71Published: 11 September 2012
Expression levels of CD133, a cancer stem cell marker, and of the α-subunit of the dystroglycan (α-DG) complex, have been previously reported to be altered in colorectal cancers.
Expression levels of CD133 and α-DG were assessed by immunohistochemistry in a series of colon cancers and their prognostic significance was evaluated.
Scattered cells positive for CD133 were rarely detected at the bases of the crypts in normal colonic mucosa while in cancer cells the median percentage of positive cells was 5% (range 0–80). A significant correlation was observed with pT parameter and tumor stage but not with tumor grade and N status. Recurrence and death from disease were significantly more frequent in CD133-high expressing tumors and Kaplan-Meier curves showed a significant separation between high vs low expressor groups for both disease-free (p = 0.002) and overall (p = 0.008) survival.
Expression of α-DG was reduced in a significant fraction of tumors but low α-DG staining did not correlate with any of the classical clinical-pathological parameters. Recurrence and death from the disease were significantly more frequent in α-DG-low expressing tumors and Kaplan-Meier curves showed a significant separation between high vs low expressor tumors for both disease-free (p = 0.02) and overall (p = 0.02) survival. Increased expression of CD133, but not loss of α-DG, confirmed to be an independent prognostic parameters at a multivariate analysis associated with an increased risk of recurrence (RR = 2.4; p = 0.002) and death (RR = 2.3; p = 0.003).
Loss of α-DG and increased CD133 expression are frequent events in human colon cancer and evaluation of CD133 expression could help to identify high-risk colon cancer patients.