Prognostic Value of Progranulin in Patients with Colorectal Cancer Treated with Curative Resection

Pathol Oncol Res. 2020 Jan;26(1):397-404. doi: 10.1007/s12253-018-0520-7. Epub 2018 Oct 30.


Progranulin (PGRN) has been characterized as an autocrine growth and survival factor and is known to stimulate tumorigenesis and proliferation of several types of cancer cell. However, little is known about the prognostic role of PGRN in colorectal cancer (CRC). A retrospective analysis was performed for patients with colorectal cancer who underwent curative resection between May 2013 and June 2015. PGRN expression in tumor cells was semi-quantitatively categorized (no expression, 0; weak/focal, 1+; moderate/focal or diffuse, 2+; strong/diffuse, 3+), and high expression was considered for tumors graded ≥2+ staining intensity. A total of 109 patients (28 stage I, 32 stage II, and 49 stage III) were analyzed. Thirty-eight patients (35%) had tumors with high PGRN expression, and there was a trend of elevated pre-operative CEA and CA19-9 levels in patients with high PGRN-expressing tumors compared to those with low PGRN-expressing tumors (CEA, 49% vs. 21%; CA19-9, 21% vs. 7%). The 3-year recurrence-free survival (3Y-RFS) and overall survival rates were 83.7% (95% CI, 76.8-90.6) and 96.0% (95% CI, 92.3-99.7), respectively. Patients with high PGRN-expressing tumors had a worse rate of 3Y-RFS (66.8%) compared to those with low PGRN-expressing tumors (92.4%; p = 0.010). Multivariate analysis showed that high PGRN expression, age (>66 years), stage (III), and perineural invasion (+) were independent prognostic factors associated with poor RFS after adjusting for confounding factors including sex, MSI, tumor location, KRAS, and lympho-vascular invasion. PGRN overexpression was significantly associated with poor RFS in patients with CRC who have undergone curative resection.

Keywords: Colorectal neoplasms; Prognosis; Progranulin; Recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Progranulins / biosynthesis*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • GRN protein, human
  • Progranulins