Open Access Research article

BRCA1 and ERCC1 mRNA levels are associated with lymph node metastasis in Chinese patients with colorectal cancer

Lu Yuanming12, Zhang Lineng3, Song Baorong12, Peng Junjie12 and Cai Sanjun12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Colorectal Cancer Center, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Dong An Road 270, Shanghai, 200032, China

2 Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College Fudan University, Dong An Road 270, Shanghai, 200032, China

3 Department of Molecular biology and Biochemistry, Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:103  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-103

Published: 6 March 2013



Although both excision repair cross-complementing group 1 (ERCC1) and breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) can be effective biomarkers for chemosensitivity in primary malignant tumors, their applicability to metastases is poorly understood. Here, ERCC1 and BRCA1, which are linked to lymph node metastasis (LNM) in colorectal cancer (CRC), were evaluated in primary CRC samples from Chinese patients with LNM (LNM CRC) or without LNM (non-LNM CRC). mRNA levels of ERCC1 and BRCA1 in CRC samples, and their relationships to primary CRC and LNM, were also examined.


Differences in BRCA1 and ERCC1 gene expression between primary CRC with or without LNM were assessed in CRC samples from 120 Chinese patients, using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Relationships between ERCC1 and BRCA1 expression and clinicopathological parameters and prognoses were also examined.


ERCC1 and BRCA1 were significantly down-regulated in LNM CRC compared with non-LNM CRC. Down-expression of ERCC1 and BRCA1 was significantly associated with LNM (P < 0.001), advanced TNM stage (P < 0.001), and decreased 5-year overall survival rate (P < 0.001). Univariate and multivariate analyses showed ERCC1 and BRCA1 expression as independent predictors of recurrence and survival in CRC patients (P < 0.05).


ERCC1 and BRCA1 mRNA expression levels correlate inversely to CRC metastasis. ERCC1 and BRCA1 might serve as biomarkers for LNM and as prognostic indicators for CRC; their down-expressions are predictors of poor outcome in CRC patients.

Biomarkers; RT-PCR; Chemosensitivity