The aim of this study was to evaluate the possibility of identifying biologically aggressive subgroups of patients, combining several biologic parameters such as the tumor and normal mucosa values from the ploidy, the S-phase cell percentage, and tumor-associated glycoprotein-72 (TAG-72) expression.METHODS:
One hundred five colorectal cancer patients were studied to analyze the possible prognostic role of ploidy and cell kinetics in multiple fresh specimens from the tumor and normal mucosa. Since the presence of TAG-72 in the colonic mucosa has been correlated to neoplastic transformation, the correlations between these parameters and the quantitative tissue expression of the TAG-72 were analyzed in a subgroup of 53 cases.RESULTS:
A significantly lower five-year disease-free survival rate (21.4 percent) was observed in patients with multiploid tumors, when compared with that observed in patients with diploid or single aneuploid tumors (67.5 percent) (P=0.03). The quantitative tissue TAG-72 expression contributed in identifying a particular patient subgroup (20 percent), characterized by S-phase percentage and TAG-72 values from the normal mucosa that were unexpectedly higher than 12.1 percent and 7.5 U/mg of proteins, respectively. In particular, when the 25 Dukes B patients were analyzed, similar results were observed. In fact, 14 (56 percent) cases showed high tumor cell proliferation and, surprisingly, a high tissue TAG-72 content in the normal mucosa was found in 4 (28.6 percent) of these patients.CONCLUSIONS:
Other than multiploidy, the biologic aggressiveness of colorectal cancer might be successfully assessed introducing the evaluation of new biologic parameters, such as the TAG-72 content and S-phase percentage values of the normal mucosa, suggesting the possibility of further stratifying this patient population.