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Br J Cancer. 2008 Nov 18;99(10):1718-25. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604747. Epub 2008 Oct 28.

PRL-3 is essentially overexpressed in primary colorectal tumours and associates with tumour aggressiveness.

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Translational Research Laboratory, Institut Català d'Oncologia-IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.


Phosphatase PRL-3 has been involved in different types of cancer, especially in metastases from colorectal carcinoma (CRC). In this study, we explored both isoforms of PRL-3 as a biomarker to predict the recurrence of stage IIIB-C CRC. Overexpression of PRL-3 was investigated in primary human colorectal tumours (n=20) and hepatic metastases (n=36) xenografted in nude mice, samples characterised by absence of human non-tumoral cells, showing a high degree of expression in metastases (P=0.001). In 27 cases of matched normal colonic mucosa/primary tumour/hepatic metastases, PRL-3 overexpression occurs in primary tumours vs normal mucosa (P=0.001) and in hepatic metastases vs primary tumours (P=0.045). Besides, our results in a series of 80 stage IIIB-C CRC primary tumours showed that high levels of PRL-3 were an independent predictor of metastasis (P<0.0001; OR: 9.791) in multivariate analysis of a binary logistic regression and that PRL-3 expression tightly correlates with parameters of bad outcome. Moreover, PRL-3 expression associated with poor outcome in univariate (P<0.0001) and multivariate Cox models (hazard ratio: 3.322, 95%, confidence interval: 1.405-7.852, P=0.006). In conclusion, PRL-3 is a good marker of aggressiveness of locally advanced CRS and a promising predictor of distant metastases. Nevertheless, for prognosis purposes, it is imperative to validate the cutoff value of PRL-3 expression in a larger and consecutive series and adjuvant setting.

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