Transforming growth factor beta 1 expression in human colorectal tumours: an independent prognostic marker in a subgroup of poor prognosis patients

Br J Cancer. 1996 Sep;74(5):753-8. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1996.432.


Members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta family, in particular TGF-beta 1, are some of the most potent inhibitory growth factors in a variety of cell types. Resistance to TGF-beta 1-induced growth inhibition is frequently observed in colorectal carcinomas and is associated with tumour progression. Perturbations of TGF-beta 1 expression and function, therefore, may contribute to the loss of some constraints on tumour cell growth. In this study we have examined the expression of TGF-beta 1 and its precursor latency-associated peptide (LAP)-TGF-beta in human colorectal tumours using immunohistochemical techniques. In 86% of the tumours the LAP-TGF-beta complex was present in both the stromal and epithelial cells, whereas the mature TGF-beta 1 peptide was expressed in the glandular epithelium of 58.3% of these tumours. Intense staining for TGF-beta 1 was positively associated with advanced Dukes' stage. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between the presence of TGF-beta 1 in the tumours and a shorter post-operative survival. This was most significant in a subgroup of patients who had received only a palliative operation. These results suggest that TGF-beta 1 expression may be useful as an independent prognostic indicator for a subgroup of patients who have a particularly poor prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Fragments*
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Precursors*
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Survival Rate
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protein Precursors
  • Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1