Emerging evidence has implicated a pivotal role for lysyl oxidase (LOX) in cancer progression and metastasis. Whilst the majority of work has focused on the extracellular matrix cross-linking role of LOX, the exact function of intracellular LOX localisation remains unclear. In this study, we analysed the LOX expression patterns in the nuclei of rectal cancer patient samples and determined the clinical significance of this expression. Nuclear LOX expression was significantly increased in patient lymph node metastases compared to their primary tumours. High nuclear LOX expression in tumours was correlated with a high rate of distant metastasis and increased recurrence. Multivariable analysis showed that high nuclear LOX expression was also correlated with poor overall survival and disease free survival. Furthermore, we are the first to identify LOX enzyme isoforms (50 kDa and 32 kDa) within the nucleus of colon cancer cell lines by confocal microscopy and Western blot. Our results show a powerful link between nuclear LOX expression in tumours and patient survival, and offer a promising prognostic biomarker for rectal cancer patients.
Keywords: lysyl oxidase; nuclear localisation; prognosis; rectal cancer patient.