Background: This study investigated the clinical importance of linked angiogenetic biomarkers to chemotherapy, combined with the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor A (anti-VEGF-A), as a first-line treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
Methods: A total of 230 patients from a randomised phase III study were included. The primary microRNA-126 (pri-miRNA-126) A24G single-nucleotide polymorphism and the mature miRNA-126 were analysed by PCR using genomic DNA (full blood) and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections, respectively. The epidermal growth factor-like domain 7 (EGFL7) protein was visualised and quantified using immunohistochemistry.
Results: High tumour expression of miRNA-126 was significantly related to a longer progression-free survival. The independent prognostic value of miRNA-126 was confirmed using a Cox regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.49, 95% confidence interval=0.29-0.84, P=0.009). Although not significant, a relationship between EGFL7 expression and response rates is suggested, with EGFL7 expression at the invasive front being lower in responding patients than in the non-responders (P=0.063).
Conclusion: The results validate the previous findings on the prognostic value of miRNA-126 in mCRC and may suggest a relationship between treatment efficacy and EGFL7 expression. As miRNA-126 may target VEGF-A as well as EGFL7, the results may provide predictive information in relation to next-generation anti-angiogenetics.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00598156.