Tanaka A, et al. Front Oncol 2020.
Colorectal cancers are among the most common cancers and a leading cause of cancer death. In our pursuit to discover molecular markers for better characterization and precision theranostics of these cancers, we first conducted global deep proteome analyses and identified maspin (serpin B5, peptidase inhibitor 5) as an upregulated protein in tumor tissue. We then validated its expression in a large cohort of 743 patients with colorectal cancers of all stages and found that both cytoplasmic and
nuclear expression varied widely between different patients. Comparison with clinicopathological features revealed that maspin expression levels correlate significantly only with mismatch repair (MMR) status but not with other features. To elucidate the prognostic significance of maspin, we analyzed two outcome-annotated cohorts, one of 572 early stage cancer patients and another of 93 late stage cancer patients. Kaplan-Meier survival, univariate, and multivariate analyses revealed that maspin overexpression predicts longer overall and disease-free survival for early stage microsatellite instability (MSI) subtype colorectal cancer, but there is no correlation with survival for patients with early stage cancer of the microsatellite stability (MSS) subtype or late stage cancer. Our study identifies maspin expression as an independent prognostic marker for risk stratification of early stage MSI subtype colorectal cancer and may provide guidance for improved therapeutic management.