Purpose: Legumain, a novel asparaginyl endopeptidase, has been observed to be highly expressed in several types of tumors including colorectal cancer. However, there is no study examining the relationship of legumain expression to clinocopatbologic and biological variables in colorectal cancers. Experimental Design: We investigated legumain expression in 164 primary colorectal cancers, 34 corresponding distant normal mucosa samples, 89 adjacent normal mucosa samples, and 33 lymph node metastases using immunohistochemistry. We also did Western blotting analysis on three additional colorectal cancers and three colonic cell lines. Results: Legumain expression was increased in primary tumors compared with distant or adjacent normal mucosa (P < 0.05), but there was no significant change between primary tumors and metastases (P > 0.05). Legumain expression was positively related to poorer differentiation/ mucinous carcinoma (P = 0.04), higher degree of necrosis (P = 0.03) and apoptosis (P < 0.0001), positive proliferating cell nuclear antigen (P < 0.0001) and p53 expression (P = 0.049), and had a positive tendency towards stromelysin 3 (P = 0.058) and PINCH positivity (P = 0.05). The patients with tumors that showed both weak and lower percentage of the legumain expression, either in tumor (P = 0.01) or in stroma (P = 0.04), had a better prognosis. Conclusions: The legumain expression may be involved in colorectal cancer development and have a prognostic value in the patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research