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Pathology. 2012 Oct;44(6):506-12.

TUFM is a potential new prognostic indicator for colorectal carcinoma.

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The Wakefield Biomedical Research Unit, University of Otago Wellington, Private Bag 7909, Wellington South 6242, New Zealand.



Mitochondrial Tu translation elongation factor (TUFM) is a nuclear encoded protein that participates in mitochondrial polypeptide translation. TUFM has been reported to be over-expressed in many tumour types including colorectal carcinoma (CRC) by proteomics. The present study aims to examine the prognostic implication of TUFM in CRC.


Immunohistochemical staining was performed in tissue microarrays composed of 123 cases of CRC using a polyclonal anti-TUFM antibody. Immunoreactivity was quantified using Image-Pro plus software, and analysed in association with patients' clinicopathological parameters and survival time.


The immunoreactivity of TUFM was negative in 25%, weak in 50% and strong in 25% of CRC cases. TUFM immunoreactivity had no significant association with the clinicopathological parameters examined including TNM stage and grade. However, strong TUFM expression significantly correlated with a higher 5-year recurrence rate (p = 0.024). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that patients with strong TUFM expression had significantly shorter cancer-specific survival than patients with negative TUFM (log-rank test, p = 0.038). In multivariate analysis, strong TUFM expression remained a stage-independent unfavourable prognostic indicator (p = 0.024).


Increased expression of TUFM is a promising new prognostic indicator for CRC. Selective inhibition of TUFM in tumour cells may present a new avenue for the targeted therapy of this cancer.

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