Research Papers:

Characterisation of the oxysterol metabolising enzyme pathway in mismatch repair proficient and deficient colorectal cancer

Rebecca Swan, Abdo Alnabulsi, Beatriz Cash, Ayham Alnabulsi and Graeme I. Murray _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:46509-46527. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10224

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Rebecca Swan1, Abdo Alnabulsi1,2, Beatriz Cash2, Ayham Alnabulsi2, Graeme I. Murray1

1Pathology, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB25, 2ZD, UK

2Vertebrate Antibodies Ltd, Zoology Department, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, UK

Correspondence to:

Graeme I. Murray, email: [email protected]

Keywords: biomarker, colorectal cancer, cytochrome P450, oxysterol, prognosis

Received: February 15, 2016     Accepted: May 26, 2016     Published: June 22, 2016


Oxysterols are oxidised derivatives of cholesterol, formed by the enzymatic activity of several cytochrome P450 enzymes and tumour-derived oxysterols have been implicated in tumour growth and survival. The aim of this study was to profile the expression of oxysterol metabolising enzymes in primary colorectal cancer and assess the association between expression and prognosis.

Immunohistochemistry was performed on a colorectal cancer tissue microarray containing 650 primary colorectal cancers using monoclonal antibodies to CYP2R1, CYP7B1, CYP8B1, CYP27A1, CYP39A1, CYP46A1 and CYP51A1, which we have developed. Unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis was used to examine the overall relationship of oxysterol metabolising enzyme expression with outcome and based on this identify an oxysterol metabolising enzyme signature associated with prognosis.

Cluster analysis of the whole patient cohort identified a good prognosis group (mean survival=146 months 95% CI 127-165 months) that had a significantly better survival (χ2=12.984, p<0.001, HR=1.983, 95% CI 1.341-2.799) than the poor prognosis group (mean survival=107 months, 95% CI 98-123 months). For the mismatch repair proficient cohort, the good prognosis group had a significantly better survival (χ2=8.985, p=0.003, HR=1.845, 95% CI 1.227-2.774) than the poor prognosis group. Multi-variate analysis showed that cluster group was independently prognostically significant in both the whole patient cohort (p=0.02, HR=1.554, 95% CI 1.072-2.252) and the mismatch repair proficient group (p=0.04, HR=1.530, 95% CI 1.014-2.310).

Individual oxysterol metabolising enzymes are overexpressed in colorectal cancer and an oxysterol metabolising enzyme expression profile associated with prognosis has been identified in the whole patient cohort and in mismatch repair proficient colorectal cancers.

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