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Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Oncology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Surgery

Down-Regulation of CDH1 Is Associated with Expression of SNAI1 in Colorectal Adenomas
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Author: Feride Kroepil et al.

by Feride Kroepil, Georg Fluegen, Zaurbek Totikov, Stephan E. Baldus, Christian Vay, Matthias Schauer, Stefan A. Topp, Jan Schulte am Esch, Wolfram T. Knoefel, Nikolas H. Stoecklein


Down-regulation of E-cadherin (CDH1) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are considered critical events for invasion and metastasis of colorectal carcinoma. Here we tested whether the important regulators of E-cadherin expression SNAI1 and TWIST1 are already detectable in human colorectal adenomas.


RNA was extracted from a set of randomly selected formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) colorectal adenomas (n?=?41) and normal colon mucosa (n?=?10). Subsequently mRNA expression of CDH1, CDH2, SNAI1 and TWIST1 was analysed by quantitative RT-PCR analysis. CDH1 as well as SNAI1 protein expression were assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC).


SNAI1 mRNA was expressed in 78% (n?=?32/41), TWIST1 mRNA in 41% (n?=?17/41) and CDH2 mRNA in 41% (n?=?17/41) of the colorectal adenoma tissue, while normal colon mucosa was negative for these transcription factors. We found a significant correlation between reduced CDH1 and the presence of SNAI1 mRNA expression and for combined SNAI1 and TWIST1 mRNA expression, respectively. A correlation between CDH2 mRNA expression and reduced CDH1 expression was not observed. We confirmed the relationship between SNAI1 expression and reduced E-cadherin expression on the protein level via IHC.


Our data show that SNAI1 and Twist1 are already expressed in benign precursor lesions of colorectal cancer and that SNAI1 expression was significantly correlated with lower expression of CDH1. Whether these findings reflect true EMT and/or are a sign of a more aggressive biology need to be investigated in further studies.