Background: Genomic deletion at tumor suppressor loci is a common genetic aberration in human cancers. The study aimed to explore candidate tumor suppressor genes at chromosome 4q25-q28.2 and to delineate novel prognostic biomarkers associated with colorectal cancer (CRC).
Methods: Deletion mapping of chromosome 4q25-q28.2 was conducted in 114 sporadic CRC by loss of heterozygosity study with 11 microsatellite markers. A novel candidate tumor suppressor gene, namely NDST4, was identified at 4q26. Gene expression of NDST4 was investigated in 52 pairs of primary CRC tissues by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Allelic loss of NDST4 gene was further determined in 174 colorectal carcinomas by loss of heterozygosity analysis, and then was assessed for clinical relevance.
Results: One minimal deletion region was delineated between D4S2297 and D4S2303 loci at 4q26, where NDST4 was the only gene that had markedly been downregulated in CRC tumors. By laser capture microdissection, NDST4 RNA expression was demonstrated in colonic epithelial cells, but was undetectable in tumor cells. In total, 30 (57.7%) of 52 colorectal carcinomas showed a dramatic reduction in NDST4 gene expression compared with matched normal mucosae. The genetic loss of NDST4 was significantly associated with advanced pathological stage (P = 0.039) and poorer overall survival of patients (P = 0.036).
Conclusions: NDST4 gene is a novel candidate tumor suppressor gene in human cancer, and the loss of its function might be involved in CRC progression. In addition, the loss of heterozygosity assay, which was established to determine the allelic loss of NDST4 gene, could be a cost-effective tool for providing a useful biomarker of adverse prognosis in CRC.