Background and objective: Yes-associated protein (YAP) and transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) are nuclear effectors of the Hippo pathway. Although they are abundantly expressed in the cytoplasm and nuclei of human colorectal cancer (CRC), and related to tumor proliferation status, there have been few studies on the predictive role of YAP and TAZ expression on the overall survival of patients with CRC. This study investigated YAP and TAZ expression in both CRC patients and colon cancer cell lines, and assessed their prognostic value.
Methods: Paraffin-embedded specimens from 168 eligible patients were used to investigate YAP and TAZ expression by immunohistochemistry, and compared with experimental results in colon cancer HCT116 cell line to explore their clinical significance in CRC.
Results: Statistically significant positive correlations were found between protein expression of YAP and TAZ in CRC tissues. Patients with higher YAP or TAZ expression showed a trend of shorter survival times; more importantly, our cohort study indicated that patients with both YAP and TAZ overexpression presented the worst outcomes. This was supported by multivariate analysis. In HCT116 colon cancer cells, the capacity for proliferation, metastasis, and invasion was dramatically reduced by knockdown of YAP and TAZ expressions by siRNA.
Conclusions: Co-overexpression of YAP and TAZ is an independent predictor of prognosis for patients with CRC, and may account for the higher proliferation, metastasis, and poor survival outcome of these patients.