Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) has been shown to be implicated in tumor development and progression.
Dr Kuo and colleagues from Taiwan undertook a study in order to investigate the role of CTGF in progression of colorectal cancer.
The investigators performed immunohistochemical staining of specimens from 119 patients with colorectal cancer.
The research team used liposome-mediated transfection to introduce a CTGF expression vector into colorectal cancer cell lines.
The researchers then tested transfectants in invasive ability and experimental hepatic metastasis in BALB/c mice.
Furthermore, the investigators performed a FOPflash/TOPflash reporter assay to investigate CTGF on the β-catenin/T-cell factor signaling pathway.
The researchers found that patients with stage II and stage III colorectal cancer whose tumors displayed high CTGF expression had a significantly higher overall survival had a disease-free advantage over patients with colorectal cancer with low CTGF expression.
| Alterations in the CTGF level in colorectal cancer cell lines modulated their invasive ability|
The research team noted that alterations in the CTGF level in colorectal cancer cell lines modulated their invasive ability with an inverse correlation.
In addition, the team found that a reduction in the CTGF level of CT26 cells after stable transfection with antisense CTGF resulted in increased liver metastasis in BALB/c mice.
The researchers observed that the activity of the β-catenin/T-cell factor signaling pathway and its downstream effector gene matrix metalloproteinase 7 in these CTGF-transfected cells was strongly attenuated.
In addition, the research team found that blockage of matrix metalloproteinase 7 with its neutralizing antibodies inhibited increased invasiveness in antisense CTGF-transfected CT26 cells.
Dr Kuo concluded, "Our results implicate CTGF as a key regulator of colorectal cancer invasion and metastasis, and it appears to be a useful and better prognosis factor for patients with stage II and stage III colorectal cancer".