Background: Sulfatide is one of the acidic glycolipids that are components of the cellular membrane. It has been reported that sulfatide plays some important roles in cell functions, such as cell adhesion. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between sulfatide and the malignant potential of colorectal carcinoma.
Methods: Glycolipids were extracted from 22 primary colorectal cancer tumors and 6 adjacent normal mucosa using the Folch method. Qualitative analysis of the sulfatide contents was performed using thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and TLC immunostaining. Quantitative analysis was performed by densitometric scanning.
Results: Two bands of sulfatide were observed by TLC immunostaining and were designated as cerebroside sulfated ester (CSE)-A and CSE-B. Levels of CSE-A were found to be significantly decreased whereas those of CSE-B were significantly increased in cancerous tissue when compared with normal tissue (P<0.05). The CSE ratios (CSE-B/[CSE-A + CSE-B]) in the 15 tumors showing lymph node metastasisi were higher than in the 7 tumors without lymph node metastasis (P<0.05). The CSE ratios in 9 Dukes Stage C tumors and 6 Dukes Stage D tumors were higher than those in 7 Dukes Stage A tumors (P<0.02, and P<0.05, respectively).
Conclusions: These data support the conclusion that changes in sulfatide composition may play an important role in lymph node metastasis of colorectal adenocarcinoma.