Prognostic significance of TRAIL signaling molecules in stage II and III colorectal cancer.

Clinical Cancer Research

PubMedID: 20570920

McLornan DP, Barrett HL, Cummins R, McDermott U, McDowell C, Conlon SJ, Coyle VM, Van Schaeybroeck S, Wilson R, Kay EW, Longley DB, Johnston PG. Prognostic significance of TRAIL signaling molecules in stage II and III colorectal cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2010;16(13):3442-51.
PURPOSE
We previously found that cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP), caspase 8, and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptor 2 (DR5) are major regulators of cell viability and chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in colorectal cancer. In this study, we determined the prognostic significance of c-FLIP, caspase 8, TRAIL and DR5 expression in tissues from patients with stage II and III colorectal cancer.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN
Tissue microarrays were constructed from matched normal and tumor tissue derived from patients (n = 253) enrolled in a phase III trial of adjuvant 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy versus postoperative observation alone. TRAIL, DR5, caspase 8, and c-FLIP expression levels were determined by immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS
Colorectal tumors displayed significantly higher expression levels of c-FLIP (P < 0.001), caspase 8 (P = 0.01), and DR5 (P < 0.001), but lower levels of TRAIL (P < 0.001) compared with matched normal tissue. In univariate analysis, higher TRAIL expression in the tumor was associated with worse overall survival (P = 0.026), with a trend to decreased relapse-free survival (RFS; P = 0.06), and higher tumor c-FLIP expression was associated with a significantly decreased RFS (P = 0.015). Using multivariate predictive modeling for RFS in all patients and including all biomarkers, age, treatment, and stage, we found that the model was significant when the mean tumor c-FLIP expression score and disease stage were included (P < 0.001). As regards overall survival, the overall model was predictive when both TRAIL expression and disease stage were included (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS
High c-FLIP and TRAIL expression may be independent adverse prognostic markers in stage II and III colorectal cancer and might identify patients most at risk of relapse.