Aim: To investigate the early metastasis-associated proteins in sentinel lymph node micrometastasis (SLNMM) of colorectal cancer (CRC) through comparative proteome.
Methods: Hydrophobic protein samples were extracted from individual-matched normal lymph nodes (NLN) and SLNMM of CRC. Differentially expressed protein spots were detected by two-dimensional electrophoresis and image analysis, and subsequently identified by matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry and Western blotting, respectively.
Results: Forty proteins were differentially expressed in NLN and SLNMM, and 4 metastasis-concerned proteins highly expressed in SLNMM were identified to be hnRNP A1, Ezrin, tubulin β-2C and Annexin A1. Further immunohistochemistry staining of these four proteins showed their clinicopathological characteristics in lymph node metastasis of CRC.
Conclusion: Variations of hydrophobic protein expression in NLN and SLNMM of CRC and increased expression of hnRNP A1, Ezrin, tubulin β-2C and Annexin A1 in SLNMM suggest a significantly elevated early CRC metastasis.