Loss of Smad4 expression predicts liver metastasis in human colorectal cancer
- Lorena Losi
- Hanifa Bouzourene
- Jean Benhattar
Published online on: May 1, 2007
Distant metastases represent the major cause of death after curative surgery of colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of Smad4 and KRAS genetic alterations in colorectal metastases taking into account both the site (hepatic versus extrahepatic) and the time (synchronous versus metachronous) of recurrence. We examined the immunohistochemical expression of Smad4 and frequency of KRAS mutation in primary colorectal tumors and in their corresponding metastatic tissues. Loss of Smad4 expression was noted in 37% (26/71) of the primary tumors and the corresponding metastases. Absence of Smad4 protein was more frequently observed in hepatic metastases, whether they were metachronous or synchronous, than in extrahepatic metastases (p<0.005). The frequency of KRAS mutations was high in the synchronous and extrahepatic metachronous metastases (68-80%), but was significantly lower in the hepatic metachronous metastases (11%). Our results indicate that absence of Smad4 expression correlated significantly with liver metastases regardless of the time of their occurrence and represents a promising new biomarker to predict liver metastasis in colorectal cancer patients. Therefore, this group of patients could benefit from a specific and appropriate pre- and/or post-operative therapy.