Increased expression of IGF-1Ec with increasing colonic polyp dysplasia and colorectal cancer

Colorectal Cancer

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2020 Aug 8. doi: 10.1007/s00432-020-03345-0. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: IGF-1Ec is an isoform of Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and has recently been identified to be overexpressed in cancers including prostate and neuroendocrine tumours. The aim of this paper is to investigate the expression of IGF-1Ec in colorectal cancer and polyps compared to normal colon tissues and its association with recurrent disease using semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry.

METHODS: Immunohistochemistry for IGF-1Ec expression was performed for colorectal cancer, colorectal polyps and normal colonic tissues. The quantification of IGF-1Ec expression was performed with the use of Image J software and the IHC profiler plugin. Following ethics approval from the National Research Ethics Service (Reference 11/LO/1521), clinical information including recurrent disease on follow-up was collected for patients with colorectal cancer.

RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry was performed in 16 patients with colorectal cancer and 11 patients with colonic polyps and compared to normal colon tissues and prostate adenocarcinoma (positive control) tissues. Significantly increased expression of IGF-1Ec was demonstrated in colorectal cancer (p < 0.001) and colorectal polyps (p < 0.05) compared to normal colonic tissues. Colonic adenomas with high-grade dysplasia had significantly higher expression of IGF-1Ec compared to low-grade dysplastic adenomas (p < 0.001). Colorectal cancers without lymph node metastases at the time of presentation had significantly higher IGF-1Ec expression compared to lymph node-positive disease (p < 0.05). No correlation with recurrent disease was identified with IGF-1Ec expression.

CONCLUSION: IGF-1Ec is significantly overexpressed in colorectal cancer and polyps compared to normal colon tissues offering a potential target to improve colonoscopic identification of colorectal polyps and cancer and intraoperative identification of colorectal tumours.