PDCD4/miR-21 dysregulation in inflammatory bowel disease-associated carcinogenesis

Kathrin Ludwig, Matteo Fassan, Claudia Mescoli, Marco Pizzi, Mariangela Balistreri, Laura Albertoni, Salvatore Pucciarelli, Marco Scarpa, Giacomo Carlo Sturniolo, Imerio Angriman, Massimo Rugge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs; both ulcerative colitis [UC] and Crohn's colitis [CC]) are well-established predisposing pathological conditions for colorectal cancer (CRC) development. In IBDs, both the endoscopy and the histology assessment of CRC precursors (i.e., dysplasia, also defined as intraepithelial neoplasia) are associated with low interobserver consistency, and no reliable dysplasia-specific biomarker is available. The programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) tumor suppressor gene is involved in sporadic colorectal oncogenesis, but scanty information is available on its involvement in IBD-associated colorectal oncogenesis. One hundred twenty tissue samples representative of active and inactive IBD and of flat dysplasia were obtained from 30 cases of UC and 30 of CC who undergone colectomy. Twenty additional biopsy samples obtained from patients with irritable bowel syndrome acted as normal controls. PDCD4 expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry; the expression of miR-21 (a major PDCD4 regulator) was investigated by quantitative real-time PCR and in situ hybridization in different series of a hundred samples. Tissue specimens from both controls and inactive IBD consistently featured strong PDCD4 nuclear immunostain; conversely, lower PDCD4 nuclear expression was featured by both active IBD and IBD-associated dysplastic lesions. Significant PDCD4 down-regulation distinguished IBD-associated dysplasia (p <0.001) versus active IBD. In both active IBD and dysplasia, PDCD4 down-regulation was significantly associated with miR-21 up-regulation. PDCD4 nuclear down-regulation (which parallels miR-21 up-regulation) is involved in the molecular pathway of IBD-associated carcinogenesis. PDCD4 nuclear expression may be usefully applied as ancillary maker in the histological assessment of IBD-associated dysplastic lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Dysplasia
  • IBD
  • MicroRNA
  • PDCD4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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