Aims: Previous studies have shown that membranous expression of podocalyxin-like protein (PODXL) is associated with poor prognosis in colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, we compared PODXL expression in primary CRC and synchronous lymph node metastases. We further analyzed whether its expression changed in rectal tumours after neoadjuvant radiation therapy.
Methods and results: The studied cohort consists of 73 consecutive patients from the South-Swedish Colorectal Cancer Biobank. Immunohistochemical PODXL expression was examined on full-face sections from all primary tumours and all 140 available lymph node metastases from 31 cases. Membranous PODXL expression was denoted in 18/73 (24,7%) primary tumours, with a high concordance between primary and metastatic lesions. While all negative primary tumours had negative metastases, some PODXL positive primaries had a varying proportion of positive and negative metastatic lymph nodes. PODXL expression was also found to be mainly unaltered in pre- and post-irradiation surgically resected tumour specimens in rectal cancer patients (n=16).
Conclusions: The findings in this study suggest that analysis of PODXL expression in the primary tumour is sufficient for its use as a prognostic and treatment predictive biomarker in CRC, also in patients with metastatic disease.
Virtual slides: The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/9014177329634352.