Background: The thymidine phosphorylase (TP) enzyme has several tumor-promoting functions. The aim of this study was to explore TP gene expression in relation to clinical and histopathological data obtained from patients with stage III colorectal cancer.
Methods and results: TP gene expression was analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR in tumor and mucosa samples from 254 patients. TP gene expression in tumors correlated with lymph node staging, with higher expression relating to a higher number of positive nodes and a worse N-stage. Higher TP expression was also associated with a worse histological tumor grade. Patients with rectal cancer had significantly higher TP expression in mucosa and tumors compared with patients having colon cancer.
Conclusion: Higher intratumoral TP expression appears to be related to a worse N stage, and thus, with a worse prognosis. TP gene expression measured in a preoperative biopsy could be of interest in preoperative staging.
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