Cancer-associated fibroblast and M2 macrophage markers together predict outcome in colorectal cancer patients

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Tumor epithelial cells within a tumor coexist with a complex microenvironment in which a variety of interactions between its various components determine the behavior of the primary tumors. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF) and M2 macrophages, characterized by high expression of different markers, including α-SMA, FSP1 and FAP, or CD163 and DCSIGN, respectively, are involved in the malignancy of different tumors. In the present study, expression of the above markers in CAF and M2 macrophages was analyzed using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry in the normal mucosa and tumor tissue from a cohort of 289 colorectal cancer patients. Expression of CAF and M2 markers is associated with the clinical outcome of colorectal cancer patients. Moreover, the combination of CAF and M2 markers identifies three groups of patients with clear differences in the progression of the disease. This combined variable could be a decisive factor in the survival of advanced-stage patients. Taken together, these analyses demonstrate the prognostic involvement of interrelationships between DCSIGN, CD163, α-SMA, FSP1 and FAP markers in the survival of colon cancer patients.

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