Background: This study analyzed the possible prognostic value of presurgical serum soluble (s)E-selectin levels and/or carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) mRNA positivity in predicting the disease-free survival of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.
Methods: CEA mRNA (obtained from blood-borne cells by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR]), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and sE-selectin levels were analyzed in blood samples obtained from 78 patients with primary (n = 62) or recurrent (n = 16) CRC, 40 patients with benign colorectal (CR) diseases, and 78 controls.
Results: CEA mRNA positivity by RT-PCR was significantly associated with advanced stage (P < .05). Median baseline sE-selectin levels were higher in patients with CRC (43 ng/mL) compared with controls (36 ng/mL) or patients with benign CR diseases (31 ng/mL, P < .001). These were significantly associated with CEA mRNA positivity by RT-PCR (P < .05). Multivariate analysis by forward stepping showed that elevated TNF-alpha (P = .001) and CEA mRNA positivity by RT-PCR (P = .0001) were independent predictors of elevated baseline sE-selectin levels. Positive presurgical sE-selectin levels were associated with an increased recurrence rate compared with patients with low levels of this molecule (P < .001). Positivity for both CEA mRNA and sE-selectin had a negative prognostic impact, with a 5-year recurrence-free survival rate of 51% compared with 95% of patients with negative parameters (P < .05).
Conclusions: Detection of presurgical serum sE-selectin levels and CEA mRNA-positive blood-borne cells in CRC patients might provide useful prognostic information in terms of recurrence-free survival, either alone or in combination, and may help in the choice of more aggressive treatment and/or more strict follow-up procedures in high-risk patients.