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Journal of translational medicine

Intra-tumoural vessel area estimated by expression of epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 and microRNA-126 in primary tumours and metastases of patients with colorectal cancer: a descriptive study.


PMID 25592646

Abstract

Understanding the biological properties of potential drug targets are important. This is especially true for anti-angiogenic therapies in the search for potential biomarkers. The aim of the present descriptive study was to analyse the intra-tumoural expressions of epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 (EGFL7) and microRNA-126 (miRNA-126) in primary tumours from patients with stage II-IV colorectal cancer (CRC) and in paired samples of primary tumours, regional lymph node metastases and distant metastases. A total of 126 patients were included. Analyses were performed on resections of primary tumours, regional lymph node metastases, and large needle biopsies from distant metastases. EGFL7 was analysed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and miRNA-126 by in situ hybridization (ISH). Both biomarkers were quantified by image guided analyses to determine the relative fraction estimates of vessel areas (VA). The intra-tumoural EGFL7 VA was significantly higher in primary tumours from patients with recurrent disease than in patients without relapse in both stage II and III, p = 0.019 and p = 0.001, respectively. The EGFL7 VA was significantly higher and the miRNA-126 VA significantly lower in regional lymph node metastases compared to primary tumours, p = 0.01 and p < 10(-6), respectively. Furthermore, the miRNA-126 VA in liver metastases was significantly lower than in the primary tumours, p = 0.02. The intra-tumoural expression of EGFL7 in early stages of CRC may influence the risk of post-surgical recurrence. Differential expression of miRNA-126 seems more pronounced in disseminated disease, which supports its role as a regulator in the metastatic process.