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Open Access Research article

Endosialin expression in relation to clinicopathological and biological variables in rectal cancers with a Swedish clinical trial of preoperative radiotherapy

Zhi-Yong Zhang123, Hong Zhang4, Gunnar Adell5 and Xiao-Feng Sun1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oncology, Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, S-581 85, Sweden

2 Department of Pathology, Tangshan Gongren Hospital, Tangshan, PR China

3 Laboratory Centre, First Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, PR China

4 Division of Biomedicine, School of Life Science, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden

5 Department of Oncology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:89  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-89

Published: 1 March 2011

Abstract

Background

The importance of changes in tumour-associated stroma for tumour initiation and progression has been established. Endosialin is expressed in fibroblasts and pericytes of blood vessels in several types of tumours, and is involved in the progression of colorectal cancer. In order to see whether endosialin was related to radiotherapy (RT) response, and clinicopathological and biological variables, we investigated endosialin expression in rectal cancers from the patients who participated in a Swedish clinical trial of preoperative RT.

Methods

Endosialin was immunohistochemically examined in normal mucosa, including distant (n = 72) and adjacent (n = 112) normal mucosa, and primary tumours (n = 135). Seventy-three of 135 patients received surgery alone and 62 received additional preoperative RT.

Results

Endosialin expression in the stroma increased from normal mucosa to tumour (p < 0.0001) both in RT and non-RT group. In the RT group, endosialin expression in the stroma was positively associated with expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) (p = 0.03), p73 (p = 0.01) and phosphates of regenerating liver (PRL) (p = 0.002). Endosialin expression in the tumour cells of both in the RT group (p = 0.01) and the non-RT group (p = 0.06) was observed more often in tumours with an infiltrative growth pattern than in tumours with an expansive growth pattern. In the RT group, endosialin expression in tumour cells was positively related to PRL expression (p = 0.02), whereas in the non-RT group, endosialin expression in tumour cells was positively related to p73 expression (p = 0.01).

Conclusions

Endosialin expression may be involved in the progression of rectal cancers, and was related to Cox-2, p73 and PRL expression. However, a direct relationship between endosialin expression and RT responses in patients was not found.