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Cancer Biol Med. 2012 Jun;9(2):105-10. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.2095-3941.2012.02.004.

Autophagy enhances the aggressiveness of human colorectal cancer cells and their ability to adapt to apoptotic stimulus.

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1
Department of Pathology, The Second Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300211, China.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate LC3B-II and active caspase-3 expression in human colorectal cancer to elucidate the role of autophagy, and to explore the relationship of autophagy with apoptosis in human colorectal cancer.

METHODS:

LC3B expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in 53 human colorectal cancer tissues and 20 normal colon tissues. The protein levels of LC3B-II and active caspase-3 were also determined by Western blot analysis in 23 human colorectal cancer tissues and 10 normal colon tissues.

RESULTS:

LC3B was expressed both in cancer cells and normal epithelial cells. LC3B expression in the peripheral area of cancer tissues was correlated with several clinicopathological factors, including tumor differentiation (P=0.002), growth pattern of the tumor margin (P=0.028), pN (P=0.002), pStage (P=0.032), as well as vessel and nerve plexus invasion (P=0.002). The protein level of LC3B-II in cancer tissue was significantly higher than in normal tissue (P=0.038), but the expression of active forms of procaspase-3 in cancer tissue was lower (P=0.041). There was a statistically significant positive correlation between the expression levels of LC3B-II and the active forms of procaspase-3 (r=0.537, P=0.008).

CONCLUSIONS:

Autophagy has a prosurvival role in human colorectal cancer. Autophagy enhances the aggressiveness of colorectal cancer cells and their ability to adapt to apoptotic stimulus.

KEYWORDS:

LC3B; apoptosis; autophagy; caspase-3; colorectal neoplasms

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