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Am J Pathol. 2010 Apr;176(4):1619-28. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090467. Epub 2010 Feb 11.

Serum cellular apoptosis susceptibility protein is a potential prognostic marker for metastatic colorectal cancer.

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Department of Medical Research, Tungs' Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital, Wuchi, Taichung County 435, Taiwan.


Colorectal cancer has high rates of recurrence and metastasis. Many patients with similar histopathological features show significantly different clinical outcomes, and these differences are primarily related to metastases undetected by current diagnostic methods. There is no useful serological marker for metastatic disease. We investigated the cellular apoptosis susceptibility (CSE1L/CAS) protein in comparison with carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) as a marker for metastatic colorectal cancer. Using serum from 103 patients with stage I, II, III, and IV disease, CSE1L was detected in 36.0% (9 of 25), 57.7% (15 of 26), 71.4% (30 of 42), and 88.9% (8 of 9) of patients, respectively; a pathological CEA level was found in 16.0% (4 of 25), 42.3% (11 of 26), 47.6% (20 of 42), and 77.8% (7 of 9) of patients, respectively; a combined CSE1L/CEA assay was detected in 48.0% (12 of 25), 65.4% (17 of 26), 88.1% (37 of 42), and 100% (9 of 9) of patients, respectively. Lymphatic metastasis is an important predictor of poor prognosis and crucial for determination of therapeutic strategy. Serum CSE1L was detected in 74.5% (38 of 51) of patients with lymph node metastasis, whereas a pathological CEA level was found in only 52.9% (27 of 51) of the same patients (P < 0.001); the combined CSE1L/CEA assay increased sensitivity to 90.2% (46 of 51). Animal experiments showed CSE1L reduction in B16-F10 melanoma cells correlated with decreased metastasis to the colorectal tract in C57BL/6 mice. These results indicate that assay of serum CSE1L may facilitate diagnosis of colorectal cancer lymphatic metastases; furthermore, CSE1L is a possible therapeutic target.

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