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Oncology. 2014;86(3):159-69. doi: 10.1159/000358064. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Low expression of transforming growth factor beta-1 in cancer tissue predicts a poor prognosis for patients with stage III rectal cancers.

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Department of Surgery, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) plays an important role in tumorigenesis and metastasis. It works as a tumor suppressor in the normal colon, but acts as a cancer promoter during the late stages of colorectal carcinogenesis. High expression of TGF-β is known to be associated with advanced stages, tumor recurrence and decreased survival of patients. We investigated the expression of TGF-β and its signaling axis molecules and evaluated their prognostic significance in patients with stage III rectal cancers.


Tissues from 201 cases of stage III rectal cancer were subjected to immunohistochemistry for TGF-β1, type II TGF-β receptor, Smad3, Smad4 and Smad7 proteins. The immunoactivities of these molecules were evaluated and the results were compared with clinicopathological variables including patient survival.


Low expression of TGF-β1 protein was correlated with a decreased disease-free survival in univariate Kaplan-Meier (p = 0.003) and multivariate Cox regression (HR 9.188 and 95% CI 1.256-67.198, p = 0.029) analyses. The loss of Smad4 protein expression was associated with a reduction in disease-free survival in the univariate analysis, but this finding was not significant after the multivariate analysis.


Low expression of TGF-β1 protein is associated with a poor prognosis for patients with stage III rectal cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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