Involvement of nuclear NHERF1 in colorectal cancer progression

Anita Mangia, Concetta Saponaro, Andrea Malfettone, Domenico Bisceglie, Antonia Bellizzi, Mariaconsilia Asselti, Ondina Popescu, Stephan J. Reshkin, Angelo Paradiso, Giovanni Simone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


NHERF1 (Na +/H + exchanger regulatory factor 1) is expressed in the luminal membrane of many epithelia, and associated with proteins involved in tumor progression. Alterations of NHERF1 expression in different sites of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) suggest a dynamic role of this protein in colon carcinogenesis. We focused on the observation of the altered expression of NHERF1 from non-neoplastic tissues to metastatic sites by immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we studied, by immunofluorescence, the colocalization between NHERF1 and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), whose overexpression is implicated in CRC progression. NHERF1 showed a different localization and expression in the examined sites. The distant non-neoplastic tissues showed NHERF1 mostly expressed at the apical membrane, while in surrounding non-neoplastic tissue decreased the apical membrane and increased cytoplasmic immunoreactivity. In adenomas a shift from apical membrane to cytoplasmic localization and nuclear expression were observed. Cytoplasmic staining in the tumor, and metastatic sites was stronger than surrounding non-neoplastic tissue. Furthermore, nuclear NHERF1 expression was noted in 80% of all samples and surprisingly, it appeared already in adenoma lesions, suggesting that NHERF1 represents an early marker of pre-morphological triggering of colorectal carcinogenesis. Then, in few tumors a positive direct correlation between membrane NHERF1 and EGFR expression was evidenced by their colocalization. Nuclear NHERF1 expression, present in the early stages of carcinogenesis and related with poor prognosis, may contribute to the onset of malignant phenotype. Specifically, we hypothesize the direct involvement of nuclear NHERF1 in both carcinogenesis and progression and its role as a potential colorectal cancer marker.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-894
Number of pages6
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Carcinogenesis
  • Immuno-histochemistry
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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