Differential CXC Receptor Expression in Colorectal Carcinomas

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In this study, we aimed to assess the expression profile of chemokine receptors CXCR1–4 in inflammatory and malignant colorectal diseases and corresponding hepatic metastases of synchronous and metachronous origin to elucidate their role in colorectal cancer (CRC) progression and metastasis. Chemokine receptor expression was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and Western blot analysis in resection specimens from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC, n = 25), colorectal adenomas (CRA, n = 8), different stages of CRC (n = 48) as well as colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) along with their corresponding primary colorectal tumours (n = 16). While none of the chemokine receptors were significantly upregulated or downregulated in UC or CRA tissues, CXC receptors 1, 2 and 4 demonstrated a significant increase in expression in all tumour stages of CRC specimens with CXCR4 correlating with tumour grading (P < 0.05). On the other hand, CXCR3 showed no significant upregulation in either tumour stage, but significant overexpression in CRLM. While CXCR4 demonstrated significant upregulation in both tumour entities, IHC analysis revealed that the predominate cell type expressing CXCR4 in CRC is represented by tumour cells, whereas in CRLM the majority of positive CXCR4 signals is due to hepatocytes along the tumour invasion front. In conclusion, our findings show a very differential expression pattern of the four receptors in colorectal carcinomas and their corresponding liver metastases with prominent expression profiles that indicate a potential role in the pathogenesis of CRC.

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