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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Serum TFF3 may be a pharamcodynamic marker of responses to chemotherapy in gastrointestinal cancers

Li Xiao1, Yun-Peng Liu1, Chuan-Xing Xiao1, Jian-Lin Ren1* and Bayasi Guleng12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Gastroenterology, Zhongshan Hospital affiliated to Xiamen University, 201 Hubin South Road, Xiamen 361004, Fujian Province, China

2 Faculty of Clinical Medicine, Medical College of Xiamen University, Xiangan South Road, Xiangan District, Xiamen 361102, Fujian Province, China

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BMC Clinical Pathology 2014, 14:26  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-14-26

Published: 14 June 2014



As a secreted protein, serum trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) has been reported to be a biomarker of several malignancies. We further investigated whether TFF3 can be applied as a biomarker for and predictor of responses to chemotherapy in gastrointestinal cancer.


Serum and urine samples were collected from 90 patients with gastric cancer, 128 patients with colorectal cancer and 91 healthy individuals. Serum and urine TFF3 levels were measured using an ELISA.


Serum and urine TFF3 levels were significantly higher in the patients with gastric and colorectal cancer compared with the healthy individuals (P < 0.05). Higher serum levels of TFF3 were significantly correlated with distant metastasis and an advanced stage in the two types of cancer (P < 0.05). Age and the number of lymph node metastases were significantly correlated with serum TFF3 levels in colorectal cancer, and decreased serum TFF3 levels were significantly correlated with responses to chemotherapy in both the gastric and the colorectal cancer partial response (PR) groups. A combination of serum and urine data did not significantly improve the detection of either cancer, although urine levels have shown a significant negative relationship with the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).


Our data indicate that TFF3 may be an effective biomarker of tumor stage and the presence of distant metastasis, and may be a pharmacodynamic marker of response to chemotherapy in gastrointestinal cancer.

Gastric cancer; Colorectal cancer; TFF3; Biomarker