Background: Metastasis-associated in colon cancer-1 (MACC1), a newly identified regulator of HGF-MET signaling, may participate into the key steps of sporadic colorectal adenocarcinoma development. Given there are many pathogenetic distinctions between colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) and sporadic colorectal adenocarcinomas, the potential roles of MACC1 in CAC carcinogenesis remain unknown. For the first time, we evaluated the expressions of MACC1 and MET in IBD-associated colitis, dysplasia, and adenocarcinoma.
Methods: Expression was investigated by immunohistochemistry in tissue microarrays consisting of 13 normal colon, 11 active colitis, 9 dysplasia, 51 conventional CAC, 5 mucinous adenocarcinoma, and 1 signet ring cell adenocarcinoma specimens. The expression level of MACC1 or MET was evaluated with H-score system.
Results: MACC1 expression was significantly higher in IBD-associated dysplasia than that in corresponding inflammatory or normal colonic tissue, and its level was further elevated from dysplasia to conventional CAC. Higher MACC1 expression was seen in a patient with CAC who had multifocal dysplasia or synchronous carcinoma. MACC1 overexpression (H-score >100) was seen in 67% of conventional CAC but in 0% of dysplasia and 0% of inflammation or normal colon. There was no difference of MACC1 expression found among well, moderately and poorly differentiated CAC. MET expressions in inflammation, dysplasia, and conventional CAC were statistically similar. No parallel expression of MACC1 and MET was detected in this study. MACC1 and MET expression was not increased in mucinous or signet ring cell carcinoma, 2 distinct variants of CAC.
Conclusions: Stepwise increase of MACC1 expression from IBD-associated colitis to dysplasia to adenocarcinoma suggests that MACC1 is strongly associated with conventional CAC tumorigenesis in a manner independent of MET. MACC1 may serve as a potential marker for early diagnosis of conventional CAC.