Open Access Research article

A common variant of the MACC1 gene is significantly associated with overall survival in colorectal cancer patients

Alois H Lang12, Simone Geller-Rhomberg13, Thomas Winder123, Nicole Stark13, Klaus Gasser123, Bernd Hartmann2, Bertram Kohler2, Ina Grizelj1, Heinz Drexel1234 and Axel Muendlein13*

Author Affiliations

1 Vorarlberg Institute for Vascular Investigation and Treatment, A-6800 Feldkirch, Austria

2 Department of Medicine and Cardiology, Academic Teaching Hospital Feldkirch, A-6800 Feldkirch, Austria

3 Private University of the Principality of Liechtenstein, FL-9495 Triesen, Principality of Liechtenstein

4 Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-20

Published: 17 January 2012



The newly discovered metastasis-associated in colon cancer-1 (MACC1) gene is a key regulator of the HGF/MET pathway. Deregulation of HGF/MET signaling is reported as a prognostic marker for tumorigenesis, early stage invasion, and metastasis. High expression levels of MACC1 have been associated with colon cancer metastasis and reduced survival. Potential links between the genetic diversity of the MACC1 locus and overall survival are unknown. We therefore investigated the association between MACC1 tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and overall survival in a large cohort of colorectal cancer patients.


The study included 318 subjects with histopathologically proven colorectal cancer at the Academic Teaching Hospital Feldkirch, Austria. Survival data were provided by the federal agency for statistics in Austria. Genomic DNA was isolated from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens; six tagging SNPs (rs1990172, rs3114446, rs10275612, rs3095007, rs3095009, and rs7780032), capturing most of the common variants of the MACC1 locus, were genotyped by SNaPshot assays.


Over a mean follow up period of 5.3 (± 1.0) years, 94 deaths were recorded. Carriers of the G-allele of SNP rs1990172 showed a significantly decreased overall survival (additive HR = 1.38 [1.05-1.82]; p = 0.023). Multivariate analysis adjusted for age and UICC tumor stage confirmed this result (HR = 1.49 [1.12-1.98]; p = 0.007). Other investigated genetic variants of the MACC1 gene were not significantly associated with overall survival (p-values > 0.05).


For the first time, our study investigated the influence of MACC1 tagging polymorphisms on overall survival suggesting SNP rs1990172 as a predictor for reduced overall survival in colorectal cancer patients. Further studies will be required to validate our findings.