Purpose: Proapoptotic BH3-only proteins (Bim, Bad, Bid, Puma, and Noxa) initiate apoptosis by binding to regulatory sites on antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins, directly neutralizing their cytoprotective function. Expression of these proteins in colon cancer patients may account for differences in recurrence and survival rates. Experimental Design: Archival tumor-node-metastasis stage II and III primary colon carcinomas from patients treated in 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant therapy trials were studied. Immunohistochemical analysis of Bim, Puma, and Noxa proteins was done using tissue microarrays (n = 431). Immunoscores were determined and correlated with clinicopathologic variables and disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) rates. Results: Elevated expression of proapoptotic Bim (hazard ratio, 0.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.44-0.97; P = 0.033) and Puma (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.37-0.93; P = 0.022), but not Noxa, proteins in the tumor cytoplasm was significantly associated with more favorable OS in a univariate analysis, and elevated Bim expression was also associated with better DFS (P - 0.023). Patient age, tumor stage, and histologic grade were also prognostic. Multivariate Cox analysis showed that Bim (DFS, P = 0.030; OS, P = 0.045) and Puma (OS, P = 0.037) expression were independent predictors of OS after adjustment for histologic grade, tumor stage, age, and treatment. Furthermore, the combined variable of Bim and Puma was highly discriminant for both DFS (P = 0.0034) and OS (P = 0.0011). Conclusions: The proapoptotic BH3-only proteins Bim and Puma can provide prognostic information for stage II and III colon cancer patients receiving 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant chemotherapy. Furthermore, our results support BH3-only proteins as molecular targets of novel anticancer drugs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research