University of Oulu

Growth and progression in colorectal cancer

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Author: Hörkkö, Tuomo1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-11-21
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in the Auditorium of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on December 1st, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Markku Kallajoki
Docent Ari Ristimäki


Colorectal cancer is the second most common malignancy in the Western World. The overall 5-year survival is still only 50–60%. Thus, better prognostic markers are needed to improve survival of the disease.

Most colorectal cancers develop from pre-existing adenomas including conventional, flat and serrated adenomas. The most important prognostic factors include tumour stage, histologic subtype and poor differentiation. The prognosis of colorectal cancer depends mainly on tumour stage. The growth of colorectal cancer is determined by cell proliferation, differentation and apoptosis. The progression of colorectal cancer is associated with the growth pattern of colorectal cancer and its invasive margin. Cancer cell budding means the presence of cells scattered in the stroma at the invasive margin, and is associated with β-catenin, an adhesion protein involved in the nuclear Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Hormones may be directly involved in the growth of a cancer, for example sex hormones play an important role in the development of most gynaecological cancers. The knowledge about the dependency of cancers on other hormones, such as thyroid hormones, is limited. This thesis focuses on factors affecting growth and prognosis in colorectal cancer.

Antibodies for Ki-67, caspase cleavage site for keratin 18, β-catenin and TRβ1 were used to determine their possible associations with colorectal cancer growth patterns and the characteristics of the invasive margin. Apoptosis and proliferation were decreased at the invasive margin, particularly in serrated adenocarcinomas. The invasive margin showed a presence of budding cell clusters in 24.0% of the cases and this predicted a very poor 5-year-survival (15.4%, P < 0.00001), but nuclear β-catenin accumulation did not predict budding. Thyroid hormone receptor TRβ1 was associated with polypoid growth, presence of KRAS mutations and also with a higher WHO histological grade and advanced Dukes' stage, and in in vitro analysis, thyroid hormone T3 had a modulatory effect on colorectal cancer cell protein synthesis and apoptosis.

In conclusion, the growth type of colorectal cancer, i.e. conventional polypoid, flat or serrated, has an association with the characteristics of the invasive margin. Budding margin is associated with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer, and could be utilised in diagnostic pathology. Association of TRβ1 expression with polypoid growth pattern and the presence of KRAS mutations suggest that abnormalities in thyroid hormone signalling involving TRβ1 play a role in the development of some types of colorectal adenocarcinomas.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-8280-9
ISBN Print: 951-42-8279-5
Issue: 903
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.