S100A4 (p9Ka) protein in colon carcinoma and liver metastases: association with carcinoma cells and T-lymphocytes

Br J Cancer. 2002 Feb 1;86(3):409-16. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600071.


The presence of the EF-hand-calcium-binding protein S100A4 in the carcinoma cells of the primary tumour is associated with a shorter survival time of a group of breast cancer patients. In colon cancer, primary tumours as well as metastases to the liver can be studied. Here we show, using quantitative PCR applied to RNA from 24 normal colon, four liver tissues, 24 colon carcinoma specimens, and 24 livers containing colonic carcinoma metastases, that the level of S100A4 mRNA was significantly higher in the carcinomas compared to normal specimens (Mann-Whitney U-test, P=0.05), and in liver metastases compared to carcinoma specimens (P=0.039). The latter comparison included seven liver metastases and their matched primary carcinomas (P<0.001) from the same patient. In situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry techniques have localized S100A4 to both carcinoma cells and lymphocytes in the malignant specimens. The percentage of specimens stained for S100A4 in the epithelial cells is significantly higher for those isolated from carcinomas and metastases than from the corresponding normal tissue, and from metastases than from corresponding carcinoma (Fisher Exact text, P<0.0016, P=0.04, respectively). In most specimens, S100A4 is present in clusters of T lymphocytes and this distribution is also found in the lymphoid, uninflamed appendix.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Colon / cytology
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reference Values
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • S100 Calcium-Binding Protein A4
  • S100 Proteins / analysis*
  • S100 Proteins / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Messenger
  • S100 Calcium-Binding Protein A4
  • S100 Proteins
  • S100A4 protein, human