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Gene expression profiling-derived immunohistochemistry signature with high prognostic value in colorectal carcinoma


Objective Gene expression profiling provides an opportunity to develop robust prognostic markers of colorectal carcinoma (CRC). However, the markers have not been applied for clinical decision making. We aimed to develop an immunohistochemistry signature using microarray data for predicting CRC prognosis.

Design We evaluated 25 CRC gene signatures in independent microarray datasets with prognosis information and constructed a subnetwork using signatures with high concordance and repeatable prognostic values. Tumours were examined immunohistochemically for the expression of network-centric and the top overlapping molecules. Prognostic values were assessed in 682 patients from Shanghai, China (training cohort) and validated in 343 patients from Guangzhou, China (validation cohort). Median follow-up duration was 58 months. All p values are two-sided.

Results Five signatures were selected to construct a subnetwork. The expression of GRB2, PTPN11, ITGB1 and POSTN in cancer cells, each significantly associated with disease-free survival, were selected to construct an immunohistochemistry signature. Patients were dichotomised into high-risk and low-risk subgroups with an optimal risk score (1.55). Compared with low-risk patients, high-risk patients had shorter disease-specific survival (DSS) in the training (HR=6.62; 95% CI 3.70 to 11.85) and validation cohorts (HR=3.53; 95% CI 2.13 to 5.84) in multivariate Cox analyses. The signature better predicted DSS than did tumour-node-metastasis staging in both cohorts. In those who received postoperative chemotherapy, high-risk score predicted shorter DSS in the training (HR=6.35; 95% CI 3.55 to 11.36) and validation cohorts (HR=5.56; 95% CI 2.25 to 13.71).

Conclusions Our immunohistochemistry signature may be clinically practical for personalised prediction of CRC prognosis.

  • Colorectal Cancer

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