Increased levels of copper efflux transporter ATP7B are associated with poor outcome in colorectal cancer patients receiving oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy

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Recently, the copper efflux transporters ATP7B and ATP7A have been implicated in the transport of and resistance to platinum drugs in breast and ovarian cancers. Because of the extensive use of oxaliplatin in colorectal cancer (CRC), we examined the expression of both transporters in tumors from CRC patients treated with oxaliplatin/5FU and sought to determine whether their expression can predict clinical outcome in these patients. ATP7B and ATP7A levels were determined by quantitative real-time PCR in 50 primary tumors of previously untreated patients with advanced colorectal adenocarcinoma who were subsequently treated with oxaliplatin/5FU. Additionally, ATP7B protein expression was assessed by immunohistochemical staining using a tissue microarray. Patients with the lowest mRNA expression levels of ATP7B had a significantly longer time to progression (TTP) (p= 0.0009) than patients with the highest levels (12.14 monthsvs. 6.43 months) who also had an increased risk of progression (HR = 3.56; 95% CI, 1.6–7.9;p= 0.002). Furthermore, patients with low levels of both protein and mRNA of ATP7B derived the maximum benefit from oxaliplatin/5FU with the longest TTP as compared with patients with high levels of ATP7B protein and mRNA (14.64 monthsvs. 4.63 months, respectively,p= 0.01) and showed a nonsignificant trend toward a lower response rate (37.5% and 75%, respectively). In conclusion, ATP7B mRNA and protein expression in colorectal tumors is associated with clinical outcome to oxaliplatin/5FU. Prospective studies are required to evaluate the role of this marker in tailoring chemotherapy. © 2009 UICC

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