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Mod Pathol. 2003 May;16(5):491-504.

Prognostic values of galectin-3 and the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in human colorectal cancers.

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1
Division of Digestive Surgery, Institut Bordet, Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

This study aims to investigate whether the immunohistochemical levels of expression of galectin-3 and the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) are associated with prognostic values in human colorectal tumors. This was performed on 99 specimens including 69 colorectal tumors (17 Dukes A, 19 Dukes B, 15 Dukes C and 18 metastatic tumors that we labeled as D), 10 hepatic metastases from colorectal cancers and 20 normal specimens (biopsies). The immunohistochemical levels of expression of MIF and galectin-3 were quantified on routine histological slides by means of computer-assisted microscopy. Separate analyses were performed on epithelial and connective tissue. The levels of expression of both MIF and galectin-3 were very significantly higher in epithelial tumor tissue when compared with normal epithelial specimens. A positive and significant correlation between MIF and galectin-3 expression was evidenced in connective tumor tissue, and in particular in the cases associated with short survival periods (less than 5 years). In the case of the Dukes A or B tumors, we established two new prognostic groups (labeled I and II) on the basis of the levels of galectin-3 expression measured in the tumor epithelium. In the case of the Dukes C or D tumors, we established two other prognostic groups (labeled III and IV) on the basis of the levels of MIF expression measured in the connective tissue. Kaplan-Meyer analyses confirmed the additional prognostic values (as compared with conventional clinical staging) given by this new classification (groups I to IV). They show that the Dukes A or B tumors characterized by low levels of galectin-3 expression in the tumor epithelium are associated with significantly better prognoses than those characterized by high levels. In addition, the Dukes C or D tumors characterized by high levels of MIF expression in the connective tumor tissue are associated with significantly better prognoses than those characterized by low levels. In conclusions, MIF and galectin-3 expression levels in colorectal tumors are related to their levels of biological aggressiveness. These markers could be used to identify patients at risk, for whom more aggressive adjuvant therapy seems to be indicated.

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