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  • Thymidylate synthase as a prognostic biomarker for locally advanced rectal cancer after multimodal treatment.

Thymidylate synthase as a prognostic biomarker for locally advanced rectal cancer after multimodal treatment.

Annals of surgical oncology (2011-02-25)
Lena-Christin Conradi, Annalen Bleckmann, Markus Schirmer, Thilo Sprenger, Peter Jo, Kia Homayounfar, Hendrik A Wolff, Hilka Rothe, Peter Middel, Heinz Becker, Michael B Ghadimi, Tim Beissbarth, Torsten Liersch
ABSTRACT

For years, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) has been the backbone of radiochemotherapy (RCT) of locally advanced rectal cancer. Its main target, thymidylate synthase (TS), is speculated to be an important biomarker for response prediction and long-term prognosis. In this study, we analyzed TS expression in the rectal cancer tissue of 208 patients to evaluate its predictive/prognostic potential. All patients included were diagnosed with locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the rectum (UICC II and III) and were treated within randomized clinical trials of the German Rectal Cancer Study Group. Preoperative RCT (50.4xa0Gy and concomitant either 5-FU or 5-FU and oxaliplatin) was administered in 167 patients followed by surgical resection with total mesorectal excision (TME). Another 41 patients received postoperative RCT. TS levels and further clinicopathological parameters were assessed in univariate and multivariate analyses. Additionally, a TS gene polymorphism was analyzed with respect to the intratumoral protein levels. Low TS expression in pretreatment biopsies correlated with impaired patient survival (pxa0=xa00.015). Analysis of a 28-bp repeat revealed a correlation between the *3/*3 genotype and high TS expression in pretherapeutic biopsies. In this study, a correlation of TS expression and grade of RCT-induced tumor regression was not found. Histopathological examination confirmed a complete tumor remission in 16 patients (9.6%). Analyses of the resection specimen indicated an unfavorable prognosis for patients with low intratumoral TS expression in case of detected lymph node metastases (pxa0=xa00.04). TS can serve as a prognostic biomarker indicating an unfavorable prognosis for patients with low TS expression.