Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin immunoexpression in colorectal carcinoma: A stage-specific prognostic factor?
- Valeria Barresi
- Roberta Lucianò
- Enrica Vitarelli
- Agata Labate
- Giovanni Tuccari
- Gaetano Barresi
Affiliations: Department of Human Pathology, University of Messina, 98125 Messina, Italy
- Published online on: September 23, 2010 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2010.191
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TNM post-surgical staging is considered to be one of the most powerful prognosticators for colorectal carcinoma. Although patient survival mostly decreases concomitantly to stage increase, in a percentage of cases TNM stage appears only to express the anatomic extent of the neoplasia with no correlation with clinical outcome. Thus, the identification of additional prognostic markers for colorectal cancer is required. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is a 25-kDa protein that appears to play an important role in colorectal cancer progression. In order to evaluate whether NGAL expression may be considered as a predictor of colorectal cancer progression, we analyzed its correlation with clinicopathological characteristics, as well as with patient progression-free survival in a series of surgically resected colorectal carcinomas. A variable NGAL immunoexpression was found in 24 out of the 64 analyzed cases. When only the positive cases were considered, a significant association was found between a high NGAL expression and the presence of distant metastases or high tumor stage. In addition, the presence of NGAL was a significant negative prognostic marker correlated with a shorter progression-free survival in stage I colorectal carcinoma, but not in the remaining TNM stages. If our findings are confirmed in more extensive analyses on stage I colorectal carcinoma, NGAL assessment may be used in order to select those patients with a higher progression risk and to submit them to adjuvant therapies useful to prevent adverse outcome.