Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Cancer and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma and spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase gene expressions are significantly correlated in human colorectal cancer

Michele Linsalata*, Romina Giannini, Maria Notarnicola and Aldo Cavallini

Author Affiliations

Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Institute for Digestive Diseases, I.R.C.C.S. "Saverio de Bellis" via Della Resistenza, 70013-Castellana Grotte (BA), Italy

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2006, 6:191  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-191

Published: 19 July 2006

Abstract

Background

The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) is a transcription factor that regulates adipogenic differentiation and glucose homeostasis. Spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) and ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) are key enzymes involved in the metabolism of polyamines, compounds that play an important role in cell proliferation. While the PPARγ role in tumour growth has not been clearly defined, the involvement of the altered polyamine metabolism in colorectal carcinogenesis has been established. In this direction, we have evaluated the PPARγ expression and its relationship with polyamine metabolism in tissue samples from 40 patients operated because of colorectal carcinoma. Since it is known that the functional role of K-ras mutation in colorectal tumorigenesis is associated with cell growth and differentiation, polyamine metabolism and the PPARγ expression were also investigated in terms of K-ras mutation.

Methods

PPARγ, ODC and SSAT mRNA levels were evaluated by reverse transcriptase and real-time PCR. Polyamines were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). ODC and SSAT activity were measured by a radiometric technique.

Results

PPARγ expression, as well as SSAT and ODC mRNA levels were significantly higher in cancer as compared to normal mucosa. Tumour samples also showed significantly higher polyamine levels and ODC and SSAT activities in comparison to normal samples. A significant and positive correlation between PPARγ and the SSAT gene expression was observed in both normal and neoplastic tissue (r = 0.73, p < 0.0001; r = 0.65, p < 0.0001, respectively). Moreover, gene expression, polyamine levels and enzymatic activities were increased in colorectal carcinoma samples expressing K-ras mutation as compared to non mutated K-ras samples.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our data demonstrated a close relationship between PPARγ and SSAT in human colorectal cancer and this could represent an attempt to decrease polyamine levels and to reduce cell growth and tumour development. Therefore, pharmacological activation of PPARγ and/or induction of SSAT may represent a therapeutic or preventive strategy for treating colorectal cancer.