Serum hepatocyte growth factor as a prognostic marker for stage II or III colorectal cancer patients

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We previously reported that a combination of serum hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) was useful for selecting early-stage colorectal cancer patients with aggressive disease. The aim of the present study was to determine whether serum HGF could provide CEA-independent prognostic information on patients undergoing surgery with curative intent. Serum samples were collected from 184 patients with colorectal cancer and 30 controls. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to detect HGF expression in colorectal cancer cell lines. Serum and tissue levels of HGF were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The serum HGF levels in colorectal cancer patients were compared with those in healthy controls, and we retrospectively assessed the association between serum HGF levels and clinicopathological findings and survival. Expression of HGF was significantly higher in colorectal cancer tissues compared with non-tumor tissues. The serum HGF levels were closely correlated with the HGF levels in cancer tissue. The mean serum HGF level in patients was significantly higher than that in controls, and significantly higher in patients with large tumor, lymph-node involvement and distant metastasis. According to the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, elevated serum HGF levels can predict patients with larger tumor, lymph-node and distant metastasis. Elevated serum HGF level demonstrated a significant association with poor survival, and was only an independent risk factor for poor survival in Stage II or/and III. Elevated serum HGF level is significantly associated with colorectal cancer development, lymph or distant invasive phenotypes and survival, especially in Stage II or III patients. © 2009 UICC

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