BACKGROUND: Patients diagnosed with locally advanced rectal cancer usually receive surgical resection and adjuvant chemoradiation therapy. Lymph node involvement is an important clinical prognostic factor affecting recurrence and survival. Few studies have explored molecular markers associated with lymph node involvement of rectal cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Tissue was obtained from 59 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who were treated with adjuvant chemoradiation therapy. We assessed messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of genes involved in pathways of angiogenesis (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF], cyclooxygenase-2), apoptosis (survivin), tumor growth and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), DNA repair (ERCC1, Rad51), and the DNA synthesis in tumor tissue and tumor-adjacent normal tissue from paraffin-embedded samples using laser-capture microdissection methods.
RESULTS: Twenty-four patients had no involvement of regional lymph nodes and 35 had lymph node metastases. In univariate analysis, patients with lymph node involvement had higher mRNA levels of VEGF and survivin in tumor tissue and EGFR in tumor-adjacent normal tissue compared with patients with no lymph node involvement (P < 0.1; t test). Multivariate analysis using recursive partitioning showed that mRNA levels of EGFR, survivin, and Rad51 are primarily responsible for delineating node positive from node negative.
CONCLUSION: Gene expression of VEGF, survivin, and EGFR could be associated with lymph node involvement in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Further independent studies of those gene expression levels and lymph node involvement are warranted to better characterize the associations.
- Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
- Lymphatic Metastasis
- Microtubule-Associated Proteins
- Middle Aged
- Neoplasm Proteins
- RNA, Messenger
- Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor
- Rectal Neoplasms
- Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
- Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't