Overexpression of CPE-ΔN predicts poor prognosis in colorectal cancer patients

Tumour Biol. 2013 Dec;34(6):3691-9. doi: 10.1007/s13277-013-0952-3. Epub 2013 Jul 14.


Carboxypeptidase E (CPE) is one of the most important carboxypeptidases involved in biosynthesis of numerous peptide hormones and neurotransmitters and has an important role in endocrine regulation. A splice variant of CPE (CPE-ΔN) has been detected and the mechanism of CPE-ΔN action in tumorigenesis has been studied in many different cancers. The aim of this study was to examine CPE-ΔN expression in human colorectal cancer (CRC) and to evaluate its possible use as a potential prognostic marker. Two hundred nineteen primary colorectal tumors and corresponding normal tissues were included in the study. We have analyzed CPE-ΔN isoform expression by qRT-PCR and Western blot in 219 CRC patients. Correlations between CPE-ΔN mRNA expression and clinicopathological variables were determined with chi-square tests. Survival probabilities were determined using Kaplan-Meier analysis, and univariate and multivariate analyses of the prognostic factors were performed with a Cox regression model. Our results show that CPE-ΔN is overexpressed in colorectal tumor tissue and that high CPE-ΔN mRNA expression is closely correlated with tumor differentiation, pT classification, pN classification, tumor recurrence, and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.042, 0.036, 0.031, 0.006, and 0.008, respectively). However, no correlation was observed between CPE-ΔN expression and age, gender, tumor localization, gross features, and the tumor size. In addition, patients with high CPE-ΔN expression had a significantly shorter survival (P < 0.001, logrank test). Tumor differentiation, gross feature, pT classification, pN classification, tumor recurrence, lymph node metastasis, and CPE-ΔN status were significantly associated with poor prognosis after performing a univariate Cox survival analysis. High CPE-ΔN expression was also identified as an independent prognostic factor using a multivariate analysis (P = 0.011). Based on these results, we can conclude that CPE-ΔN expression might be a potential prognostic marker for colorectal cancer patients.

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western / statistics & numerical data
  • Carboxypeptidase H / genetics*
  • Carboxypeptidase H / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Tumor Burden


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Isoenzymes
  • Carboxypeptidase H