Transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-α) expression in biopsies of colorectal carcinoma is a significant prognostic indicator

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Anticancer Research




4 A


Colon cancer; Immunohistochemistry; Preoperative biopsy; Survival; TGF-α


Background: Predicting the outcome of patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRCA) prior to surgery would be valuable in selecting high-risk individuals who may benefit from pre-operative adjuvant therapy. The aim of this study is to determine whether the expression of TGF-α in preoperative biopsies of patients with CRCA constitutes a significant prognostic indicator. Methods: We studied the expression of TGF-α in preoperative biopsies of 106 patients with CRCA, who had at least 5 years follow-up, using an anti-TGF-α monoclonal antibody and utilizing the ABC immunoperoxidase technique. For survival analysis, we used the actuarial survival method, and the Log Rank test for statistical significance. Results: CRCAs with low TGF-α expression (less than 25% of the tumor cells immunoreactive for TGF-α) had a significantly poorer survival than those with high TGF-α expression (more than 25%). After excluding from analysis biopsies showing mucinous or poorly differentiated CRCA, known predictors of poor prognosis, the results remained significant (p = 0.0289). Conclusion: It is concluded, therefore, that low or absent expression of TGF-α in pre-operative biopsies of patients with CRCA, as detected by immunohistochemistry, is a significant predictor of an unfavorable outcome.

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