Gene expression profiling of primary and metastatic colon cancers identifies a reduced proliferative rate in metastatic tumors

Ganepola A.P. Ganepola, Robert M. Mazziotta, Dilendra Weeresinghe, Georgia A. Corner, Cheryl J. Parish, David H. Chang, Niall C. Tebbutt, Carmel Murone, Naseem Ahmed, Leonard H. Augenlicht, John M. Mariadason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to gain insights into the biological basis of the metastatic process by characterizing the gene expression differences between primary and metastatic colon cancers. Recent studies have demonstrated that few new mutational changes are acquired during the metastatic progression of colon tumors [Jones et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105 (11): 4283-4288, 2008]. However, the extent to which epigenetic and transcriptional changes occur between primary and metastatic colon cancer remains unknown. We approached these issues using Affymetrix microarrays to assess the similarities and differences in gene expression profiles between macro-dissected primary and metastatic colon tumors. Unexpectedly, we found that expression of a number of cell proliferation markers were reduced in the liver metastases of colon tumors when compared to primary tumors. This finding was validated by immunohistochemical staining of Ki67 and Cyclin D1 in Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) section of the same samples, and in an independent cohort of FFPE matched tumor and metastatic tissue samples. These results indicate that significant transcriptional differences exist between primary and metastatic colon tumors, and demonstrate that metastatic lesions have a lower proliferative rate compared to primary tumors. These findings may have implications for interpreting differences in response rates between primary and metastatic lesions and suggest that measurement of expression-based biomarkers in metastatic tissue will be most informative for understanding the basis of response of metastatic tumors to therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Metastasis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Gene expression of colon tumor
  • Gene expression profiling
  • Immunohistochemical validation
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer
  • Metastatic process
  • Metastatic proliferation
  • Microarray analysis of colon cancer
  • Primary and metastatic colon cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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