Higher expression of oncoproteins c-myc, c-erb B-2/neu, PCNA, and p53 in metastasizing colorectal cancer than in nonmetastasizing tumors

Ann Surg Oncol. 1996 Nov;3(6):574-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02306092.


Background: Expression of individual oncogenes may predict outcome in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). We studied the oncogene profile in the tumors of patients with CRC and assessed their value as predictors of liver metastases.

Methods: The oncoproteins c-myc, c-erbB-2/neu (c-neu), PCNA and p53, were measured by immunohistochemistry in sections of metastasizing human CRC (n = 34) and their liver secondaries as well as in sections of nonmetastasizing human CRC (n = 25).

Results: The metastasizing primary CRC expressed proliferating-cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), c-neu, and c-myc at significantly higher levels than the nonmetastasizing primary cancer, p53 was also overexpressed in the metastatic group compared with the nonmetastasizing CRC, but this difference was not significant. The frequency of expression of all these markers was similar in the metastasizing primary CRC and the liver secondaries from the same patients. There was no correlation between the expression of the individual markers and histological grade, DNA ploidy, and subsequent local recurrence and lung metastasis and survival. However, when both groups were assessed together, positive expression of c-myc was more likely to occur in poorly differentiated tumors, whereas PCNA expression increased with more advanced Dukes stages.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the overexpression of c-myc, c-neu, PCNA, and p53 may occur in CRC that are likely to metastasis to the liver.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / analysis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / analysis*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis*


  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Receptor, ErbB-2