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Eur J Cancer. 2002 Mar;38(4):505-10.

Effect of preoperative radiotherapy on matrilysin gene expression in rectal cancer.

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Academic Unit of Cancer Studies, Section of Surgery, E Floor West Block, University Hospital, NG7 2UH, Nottingham, UK.


Matrilysin, a member of matrix metalloproteinase family, is believed to play a significant role in the growth and proliferation of colon cancer cells. Overexpression of the matrilysin gene has been shown to correlate with Dukes' stage and increased metastatic potential in colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of preoperative high-dose radiotherapy (25 Gy in five fractions over 5 days) on matrilysin (MMP-7) gene expression, in patients with resectable rectal cancer, by a quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Biopsy samples of tumour (n=30) and distant normal mucosa (n=12) from 15 patients were obtained pre- and post-radiotherapy. Messenger (m)RNA was extracted from all of the tissue samples and reverse transcribed to double-stranded cDNA. Quantitative RT-PCR was performed to study the effect of preoperative radiotherapy on matrilysin gene expression in both the tumour and normal mucosal specimens. Matrilysin mRNA values were expressed relative to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) for each sample. In 14 out of 15 cases, matrilysin mRNA was detected in the cancerous tissue. Although all six normal mucosal specimens expressed matrilysin mRNA, the levels were approximately 10-fold lower compared with those seen in the paired tumour samples. Preoperative radiotherapy led to a significant 6- to 7-fold increase (P=0.001) in the expression of matrilysin mRNA in rectal cancer tissue. In contrast, there was no significant change in the matrilysin mRNA expression of normal mucosal specimens post-radiotherapy. Preoperative high-dose radiotherapy upregulates matrilysin gene expression in rectal cancer. Matrilysin inhibition may be a useful preventive or therapeutic adjunct to radiotherapy in rectal cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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