What's the role of beta-catenin in colorectal cancers?

October 31, 2008

Beta-catenin, a central molecule of the Wnt-signaling pathway was previously known to involve in the tumorigenesis of various gastrointestinal cancers such as gastric cancer and colon cancer. In colon cancer, previous studies suggested association between the feature of nuclear beta-catenin, which remarks an activation of the Wnt-signaling pathway, and poorer survival. However, a correlation between the overall expression of this protein and treatment outcome in colorectal cancer has not been clearly defined.

A research article to be published on October 21, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this interest. The researcher team from the Tumor Biology Research Group, Prince of Songkla University used immunohistochemical technique to study their tumor tissue from 163 cases of colorectal cancer. In their study, they invent a new parameter called "overall staining density" which meant the density percentage of tumor cells that gave positive staining with beta-catenin. Unlike previous reports, the study did not find a predictive value of nuclear beta-catenin in CRC. Instead, the overall expression of beta-catenin in CRC showed an association with better differentiation and earlier staging. Moreover, the parameter also independently predicted superior survival. High overall staining density had inverse correlation with clinical staging, nodal status, metastatic status and differentiation. Multivariate analysis found that high overall staining density was independently associated with better survival.

The study indicated that role of beta-catenin in colorectal cancer may not be explained solely through the Wnt-signaling pathway. The protein may have an alternative role that is related to tumor cell differentiation and better prognosis.
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Reference: Wanitsuwan W, Kanngurn S, Boonpipattanapong T, Sangthong R, Sangkhathat S. Overall expression of beta-catenin outperforms its nuclear accumulation in predicting outcomes of colorectal cancers. World J Gastroenterol 2008; 14(39): 6052-6059 http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/14/6052.asp

Correspondence to: Dr. Surasak Sangkhathat, Tumor Biology Research Group and Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90110, Thailand. surasak.sa@psu.ac.th Telephone: +66-744-51401 Fax: +66-744-29384

About World Journal of Gastroenterology

World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H pylori infection. It provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2003-2000 IF: 3.318, 2.532, 1.445 and 0.993. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of every month. The WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the title China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.

About The WJG Press

The WJG Press mainly publishes World Journal of Gastroenterology.

World Journal of Gastroenterology

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