Background: Neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy (CRT) followed by surgical resection is the standard treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer, although complete tumor pathological regression is achieved in only up to 30% of cases. A clinicopathological and molecular predictive stratification of patients with advanced rectal cancer is still lacking. Here, c-Met and YKL-40 have been studied as putative predictors of CRT response in rectal cancer, due to their reported involvement in chemoradioresistance in various solid tumors. Material and Methods: A multicentric study was designed to assess the role of c-Met and YKL-40 expression in predicting chemoradioresistance and to correlate clinical and pathological features with CRT response. Immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in situ hybridization for c-Met were performed on 81 rectal cancer biopsies from patients with locally advanced rectal adenocarcinoma. All patients underwent standard (50.4 gy in 28 fractions + concurrent capecitabine 825 mg/m2) neoadjuvant CRT or the XELOXART protocol. CRT response was documented on surgical resection specimens and recorded as tumor regression grade (TRG) according to the Mandard criteria. Results: A significant correlation between c-Met and YKL-40 expression was observed (R = 0.43). The expressions of c-Met and YKL-40 were both significantly associated with a lack of complete response (86% and 87% of c-Met and YKL-40 positive cases, p<0.01 and p = 0.006, respectively). Thirty of the 32 biopsies co-expressing both markers had partial or absent tumor response (TRG 2-5), strengthening their positive predictive value (94%). The exclusive predictive role of YKL-40 and c-Met was confirmed using a multivariate analysis (p = 0.004 and p = 0.007 for YKL-40 and c-Met, respectively). TRG was the sole morphological parameter associated with poor outcome. Conclusion: c-Met and YKL-40 expression is a reliable predictor of partial/absent response to neoadjuvant CRT in rectal cancer. Targeted therapy protocols could take advantage of prior evaluations of c-MET and YKL-40 expression levels to increase therapeutic efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)