Association of CTNNB1 (Beta-Catenin) Alterations, Body Mass Index, and Physical Activity With Survival in Patients With Colorectal Cancer

JAMA. 2011 Apr 27;305(16):1685-94. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.513.

Abstract

Context: Alterations of the WNT signaling pathway and cadherin-associated protein β 1 (CTNNB1 or β-catenin) have been implicated in colorectal carcinogenesis and metabolic diseases.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that CTNNB1 activation in colorectal cancer modifies prognostic associations of body mass index (BMI) and level of postdiagnosis physical activity.

Design, setting, and patients: Two US prospective cohort studies (Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study) were used to evaluate CTNNB1 localization by immunohistochemistry in 955 patients with stage I, II, III, or IV colon and rectal cancer from 1980 through 2004. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to compute the hazard ratio (HR) for mortality, adjusting for clinical and tumor features, including microsatellite instability, CpG island methylator phenotype, level of long interspersed nucleotide element 1 methylation, mutations in KRAS, BRAF, or PIK3CA, and tumor protein p53.

Main outcome measures: Colorectal cancer-specific mortality and overall mortality through June 30, 2009.

Results: In obese patients (BMI ≥30), positive status for nuclear CTNNB1 was associated with significantly better colorectal cancer-specific survival (adjusted HR, 0.24 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.12-0.49], P <.001 for interaction; 5-year survival: 0.85 for patients with positive nuclear CTNNB1 status vs 0.78 for those with negative status) and overall survival (adjusted HR, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.35-0.90], P = .03 for interaction; 5-year survival: 0.77 for patients with positive nuclear CTNNB1 status vs 0.74 for those with negative status), while CTNNB1 status was not associated with prognosis among nonobese patients (BMI <30). Among patients with negative status for nuclear CTNNB1 and cancer in stages I, II, or III, postdiagnosis physical activity was associated with better colorectal cancer-specific survival (adjusted HR, 0.33 [95% CI, 0.13-0.81], P = .05 for interaction; 5-year survival: 0.97 for ≥18 vs 0.89 for <18 metabolic equivalent task hours/week), while postdiagnosis physical activity was not associated with colorectal cancer-specific survival among patients with positive status for nuclear CTNNB1 (adjusted HR, 1.07 [95% CI, 0.50-2.30]).

Conclusions: Among obese patients only, activation of CTNNB1 was associated with better colorectal cancer-specific survival and overall survival. Postdiagnosis physical activity was associated with better colorectal cancer-specific survival only among patients with negative status for nuclear CTNNB1. These molecular pathological epidemiology findings suggest that the effects of alterations in the WNT-CTNNB1 pathway on outcome are modified by BMI and physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*

Substances

  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin