Slow proliferation as a biological feature of colorectal cancer metastasis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We have recently reported an inverse relationship between colon cancer progression and tumour proliferative activity. Here, we extend our findings by evaluating the proliferative activity of liver metastatic lesions and primary colorectal cancers (CRC) that differ in their metastatic potential. METHODS: Using an earlier established multi-gene proliferation signature (GPS), proliferative levels were analysed in 73 primary CRCs and 27 liver metastases. RESULTS: Compared with primary CRCs, we observed a significantly lower expression of the GPS in liver metastases and confirmed their lower proliferative levels by quantitative RT-PCR and Ki-67 immunostaining. No difference could be detected in apoptotic indices as assessed by M30 immunostaining, indicating that the net growth rate is lower in metastases relative to primary tumours. Notably, relapsed primaries or those with established metastases had significantly lower proliferative activity than CRCs that were non-metastatic and did not relapse. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that slow proliferation is a biological characteristic of both liver metastases and those primary tumours with the ability to metastasise. The delineation of the mechanisms underlying the inverse association between proliferation and CRC aggressiveness may be important for the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Colorectal cancer (CRC) is associated with lifestyle factors that affect insulin/IGF signaling, of which the insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) is a key transducer. We investigated expression, localization and pathologic correlations of IRS1 in cancer-uninvolved colonic epithelium, primary CRCs with paired liver metastases and in vitro polarizing Caco2 and HT29 cells. IRS1 mRNA and protein resulted higher, relative to paired mucosa, in adenomas of familial adenomatous polyposis patients and in CRCs that overexpressed c-MYC, ß-catenin, InsRß, and IGF1R. Analysis of IRS1 immunostaining in 24 cases of primary CRC with paired colonic epithelium and hepatic metastasis showed that staining intensity was significantly higher in metastases relative to both primary CRC (P<0.01) and colonic epithelium (P<0.01). Primary and metastatic CRCs, compared to colonic epithelium, contained significantly higher numbers of IRS1-positive cells (P = 0.013 and P = 0.014, respectively). Pathologic correlations in 163 primary CRCs revealed that diffuse IRS1 staining was associated with tumors combining differentiated phenotype and aggressive markers (high Ki67, p53, and ß-catenin). In Caco 2 IRS1 and InsR were maximally expressed after polarization, while IGF1R was highest in pre-polarized cells. No nuclear IRS1 was detected, while, with polarization, phosphorylated IRS1 (pIRS1) shifted from the lateral to the apical plasma membrane and was expressed in surface cells only. In HT29, that carry mutations constitutively activating survival signaling, IRS1 and IGF1R decreased with polarization, while pIRS1 localized in nuclear spots throughout the course. Overall, these data provide evidence that IRS1 is modulated according to CRC differentiation, and support a role of IRS1 in CRC progression and liver metastatization.
Project description:BACKGROUND: LINE-1 methylation level is a surrogate marker of global DNA methylation. LINE-1 methylation in primary colorectal cancers (CRCs) is highly variable and strongly associated with a poor prognosis. However, no study has examined LINE-1 methylation levels of metastatic CRCs in relation to prognosis or assessed the heterogeneity of LINE-1 methylation level within the primary CRCs. METHODS: Pyrosequencing was used to quantify LINE-1 methylation level in 42 liver metastases, 26 matched primary tumours, and 6 matched lymph node (LN) metastases. KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutation status and microsatellite instability (MSI) status were also examined. RESULTS: The distribution of LINE-1 methylation level in liver metastases was as follows: mean, 67.3; range, 37.1-90.1. Primary tumours showed LINE-1 methylation levels similar to those of matched liver and LN metastases. The difference in LINE-1 methylation level between superficial areas and invasive front areas was within 7.0 in all six cases evaluated. Prognostic impact of LINE-1 hypomethylation in liver metastases on overall survival was not observed. The concordance rate was 94% for KRAS, 100% for BRAF, 88% for PIK3CA, and 97% for MSI. CONCLUSION: Alteration of LINE-1 methylation level may occur in early CRC tumorigenesis, and the LINE-1 methylation level is relatively stable during CRC progression.
Project description:A transcription regulatory complex (TRC) that includes Ets1, Ets2, PEA3 and ?-catenin/T-cell factors regulates osteopontin (OPN) that is implicated in colorectal cancer (CRC) dissemination. The consistency of OPN transcriptional control between primary CRC and metastases is unclear. This study investigates expression and prognostic significance of the OPN-TRC in primary human CRC and associated colorectal liver metastases (CRLM).Osteopontin-TRC factors were assayed by digital microscopy in 38 primary CRCs and matched CRLM specimens and assessed against clinical prognosis.In primary CRC, OPN expression intensity correlated with that of its co-activators, PEA3 (r=0.600; P<0.01), Ets1 (r=0.552; P<0.01), Ets2 (r=0.521; P<0.01) and had prognostic significance. Osteopontin intensity in primary CRC inversely correlated with the interval between diagnosis and resection of CRLM. Overall OPN intensity was lower in CRLM than primary CRC and correlations with co-activators were weaker, for example, Ets1 (P=0.047), PEA3 (P=0.022) or nonsignificant (Ets2). The ratio of OPN expression in CRLM vs primary CRC had prognostic significance.This study supports transcriptional control of OPN by known coregulators in both primary and secondary CRC. Weaker associations in CRLM suggest involvement of other unknown factors possibly from the liver microenvironment or resulting from additional genetic or epigenetic changes that drive tumour metastatic capability in OPN transcriptional control.
Project description:The immune system plays an important role in shaping the clinical course of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, it is still unclear how the immune infiltrates of primary CRC lesions and distant metastases by immune effector cells are related to each other. To address this issue, we quantified CD3(+), CD8(+) and granzyme B(+) lymphocytes in primary CRC samples and corresponding liver metastases. This analysis showed that the prognostic predictions that can be drawn from the infiltration of immune cells in primary CRCs and their metastases are heterogeneous. To investigate whether such heterogeneity would also be observed within CRC hepatic metastases, the density of the immune infiltrate and cytokine production were assessed in opposite sides of the same metastatic lesion. In addition, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes were assessed in sequential sections of the same metastatic lesion, with a spacing of 30 ?m. In summary, consistent cell counts and cytokine levels were detected within the same lesion. The study of a case of synchronous metastases, however, suggested that different metastatic lesions within the same patient may be heterogeneous, perhaps indicating a major impact for local causes on tumor infiltration by immune cells. In summary, our study demonstrates a consistent degree of heterogeneity between primary tumors and hepatic metastases but an excellent intra-lesional homogeneity. These findings may be of key importance for patient stratification and the development of personalized strategies against CRC.
Project description:Liver metastasis is a fatal step in the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC); however, the epigenetic evolution of this process is largely unknown. To decipher the epigenetic alterations during the development of liver metastasis, the DNA methylation status of 12 genes, including 5 classical CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) markers, was analyzed in 62 liver metastases and in 78 primary CRCs (53 stage I-III; 25 stage IV). Genome-wide methylation analysis was also performed in stage I-III CRCs and in paired primary and liver metastatic cancers. Methylation frequencies of MGMT and TIMP3 increased progressively from stage I-III CRCs to liver metastasis (P = 0.043 and P = 0.028, respectively). The CIMP-positive cases showed significantly earlier recurrence of disease than did CIMP-negative cases with liver metastasis (P = 0.030), whereas no such difference was found in stage I-III CRCs. Genome-wide analysis revealed that more genes were methylated in stage I-III CRCs than in paired stage IV samples (P = 0.008). Hierarchical cluster analysis showed that stage I-III CRCs and stage IV CRCs were clustered into two distinct subgroups, whereas most paired primary and metastatic cancers showed similar methylation profiles. This analysis revealed distinct methylation profiles between stage I-III CRCs and stage IV CRCs, which may reflect differences in epigenetic evolution during progression of the disease. In addition, most methylation status in stage IV CRCs seems to be established before metastasis.
Project description:Identifying molecular differences between primary and metastatic colorectal cancers-now possible with the aid of omics technologies-can improve our understanding of the biological mechanisms of cancer progression and facilitate the discovery of novel treatments for late-stage cancer. We compared the DNA methylomes of primary colorectal cancers (CRCs) and CRC metastases to the liver. Laser microdissection was used to obtain epithelial tissue (10 to 25?×?106??m2) from sections of fresh-frozen samples of primary CRCs (n =?6), CRC liver metastases (n =?12), and normal colon mucosa (n =?3). DNA extracted from tissues was enriched for methylated sequences with a methylCpG binding domain (MBD) polypeptide-based protocol and subjected to deep sequencing. The performance of this protocol was compared with that of targeted enrichment for bisulfite sequencing used in a previous study of ours. MBD enrichment captured a total of 322,551 genomic regions (249.5?Mb or ~?7.8% of the human genome), which included over seven million CpG sites. A few of these regions were differentially methylated at an expected false discovery rate (FDR) of 5% in neoplastic tissues (primaries: 0.67%, i.e., 2155 regions containing 279,441 CpG sites; liver metastases: 1%, i.e., 3223 regions containing 312,723 CpG sites) as compared with normal mucosa samples. Most of the differentially methylated regions (DMRs; 94% in primaries; 70% in metastases) were hypermethylated, and almost 80% of these (1882 of 2396) were present in both lesion types. At 5% FDR, no DMRs were detected in liver metastases vs. primary CRC. However, short regions of low-magnitude hypomethylation were frequent in metastases but rare in primaries. Hypermethylated DMRs were far more abundant in sequences classified as intragenic, gene-regulatory, or CpG shelves-shores-island segments, whereas hypomethylated DMRs were equally represented in extragenic (mainly, open-sea) and intragenic (mainly, gene bodies) sequences of the genome. Compared with targeted enrichment, MBD capture provided a better picture of the extension of CRC-associated DNA hypermethylation but was less powerful for identifying hypomethylation. Our findings demonstrate that the hypermethylation phenotype in CRC liver metastases remains similar to that of the primary tumor, whereas CRC-associated DNA hypomethylation probably undergoes further progression after the cancer cells have migrated to the liver.
Project description:Aberrant PD-L1 (CD274) expression has been described in different types of tumour and linked to tumour aggressiveness and a poor prognosis. In primary colorectal carcinomas (CRCs), CD274 expression was reported to be associated with mismatch repair (MMR)-deficiency, BRAF mutation, and "stem-like" immunophenotype defined by down-regulation of homeobox protein CDX2 and membranous expression of activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM). However, the immunophenotype and genotype of CD274-positive metastatic CRC have not been extensively analysed. In this study, 189 CRC metastases were evaluated immunohistochemically for CD274, MMR proteins, CDX2, and ALCAM expression. Immunostaining for CD4, CD8, and FOXP3 was also performed to characterize tumour-associated immune cells. In addition, 34 arbitrarily selected lesions were genotyped using Sanger- and next-generation sequencing. Univariate analyses showed no clear association between CD274 expression and clinicopathological parameters including MMR-deficiency or "stem-like" immunophenotype after adjustment for multiple testing. Comparison of the clinicopathological profiles of CD274-positive primary and metastatic tumours revealed in the latter younger age of occurrence (60.9 ± 13.3 versus 72.6 ± 13.1 years, p = 0.001), cytoplasm-dominant CD274 expression (p < 0.001), infrequent MMR-deficiency (p < 0.001), and common KRAS mutations (54%, p < 0.001). In five cultured colon cancer cell lines, CD274 was expressed and modulated after exogenous exposure to IFNγ and TGF-β1. Thus, CD274 regulation mechanisms might include tumour micro environmental factors. Based on significantly different characteristics in CD274-positive metastatic and primary CRCs, evaluation of metastases should also be considered when planning immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
Project description:SATB2 (Special AT-rich sequence-binding protein 2) has recently been shown to be a specific biomarker of colorectal cancer (CRC). The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic potential of SATB2 as a means of detecting a CRC origin for liver metastases. SATB2 expression was examined in a resection cohort of 101 CRC and 273 non-CRC adenocarcinoma samples using immunohistochemistry (IHC). The diagnostic accuracy of CRC origins of liver metastases based on SATB2 and a three marker panel of SATB2, CK20 and CDX2 was evaluated using an independent cohort of 192 liver biopsies. IHC showed 97 of the 101 (96.0%) primary CRC samples were SATB2 positive, compared to only 6 of the 273 (2.1%) samples of other cancer types. The sensitivity, specificity and AUC values of SATB2 expression in resection samples were 97%, 97.1% and 0.977, respectively. Meanwhile, for the liver biopsy samples, the sensitivity, specificity and AUC values of a CRC liver metastases was 92.2%, 97.8% and 0.948 for SATB2, 95.1%, 91.0% and 0.959 for CK20, and 100%, 85.4% and 0.976 for CDX2, respectively. Further analysis demonstrated that all three-marker positivity was detected in 92/103 (89.3%) CRC and 2/89 (2.2%) non-CRC liver metastases sampled by biopsy. Our findings suggest that SATB2, as measured by IHC, could serve as a promising diagnostic biomarker of CRC metastases. Combining evaluation of SATB2 with CK20 and CDX2 to form a three marker panel further improved the detection of metastatic CRCs in liver biopsy tissues.
Project description:Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world and liver is the most frequent site of distant metastasis with poor prognosis. The aim of this study is to investigate microRNAs leading to liver metastasis. We applied microarray analysis and quantitative PCR to identify and validate dysregulated miRNAs in liver metastases when compared to primary CRCs. Functional significance and the underlying molecular mechanism of selected miRNA was demonstrated by a series of in vitro and in vivo assays. Our microarray analysis and subsequent quantitative PCR validation revealed that miR-885-5p was strongly up-regulated in liver metastases and in CRC cell-lines derived from distant metastases. Overexpression of miR-885-5p significantly induced cell migration, cell invasion, formation of stress fibre in vitro and development of liver and lung metastases in vivo. MiR-885-5p induced metastatic potential of CRC by repressing cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein 2 transcription through directly binding to two binding sites on its 3' untranslated region, and consequently led to up-regulation of TWIST1 and hence epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Our findings demonstrated the overexpression of miR-885-5p in liver metastasis and its roles in inducing CRC metastasis, potentiating development of miR-885-5p inhibitor to treat advanced CRC in the future.
Project description:Liver metastasis is common in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), and is correlated with poor outcome. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs involved in cancer development and progression, but their role in CRC liver metastasis has not been extensively investigated.Thirteen miRNAs were deregulated in pCRCs compared to their matched liver metastases. Seventeen miRNAs were chosen for validation, which confirmed significantly reduced expression of miR-99b-5p, miR-377 and miR-200c and increased expression of miR-196b-5p in the tissue of liver metastasis. Furthermore, miR-200c and miR-196b-5p were positively correlated with shorter overall survival in pCRC patients with liver metastasis.Firstly, affymetrix microarrays involving 1036 miRNAs were performed in two pairs of primary CRCs (pCRCs) and their matched liver metastases. Secondly, validation of the results was carried out on an independent cohort of 48 pairs of pCRCs and matched liver metastases using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay.We discovered a pCRC liver metastasis-specific miRNA panel including miR-377, miR-99b-5p, miR-200c and miR-196b-5p through intensive validation. These miRNAs may function as prognostic factors in patients with metastatic CRC.