Background: Transketolase-like protein 1 (TKTL1) is an isoform of tranketolase, a key protein in a cancer cell's glucose metabolism that causes rapid cell growth and controls the non-oxidative part of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). Its overexpression occurs in several human cancer types. Our purpose was to study whether TKTL1 expression in colorectal cancer tissue associates with these patients' prognosis.
Methods: We collected retrospectively patient data and tissue samples from 840 colorectal cancer patients treated at Helsinki University Hospital, then stained tumor tissue microarrays for TKTL1 by immunohistochemistry, and compared immunohistochemical tissue expression with clinico-pathological parameters and survival.
Results: High expression of TKTL1 associated with high Dukes stage, non-mucinous adenocarcinoma, and left-sided disease. Patients with high TKTL1 expression had poorer prognosis than those with low expression, with a 5-year disease-specific survival of 55.7% vs. 62.7%.
Conclusion: We show that high TKTL1 in tumor tissue can lead to poor survival in colorectal cancer. TKTL1 thus can serve as a candidate marker for identifying patients at risk of recurrent disease.
Keywords: Colon cancer; TKTL1; colorectal cancer; immunohistochemistry; prognosis; rectal cancer; tumor marker.