J Cancer 2019; 10(3):689-696. doi:10.7150/jca.28333

Research Paper

Loss of Yes-associated Protein Represents an Aggressive Subtype of Colorectal Cancer

Sheng Zhang1,2#, Qing Wei3#, Yongzhi Yang1,2, Huanlong Qin4, Xinxiang Li1,2✉, Sanjun Cai1,2✉, Yanlei Ma1,2✉

1. Department of Colorectal Surgery, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, 200032, China
2. Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China
3. Department of Pathology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200072, China.
4. Department of GI Surgery, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai 200072, China.
# Sheng Zhang and Qing Wei contributed equally to this work.


Background: Yes-associated protein (YAP) is a downstream effecter of Hippo signaling pathway, and has been linked to the initiation and development of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the clinical significance of YAP in CRC remains controversial. This study was designed to investigate the clinical significance of YAP in CRC.

Methods: We selected 206 eligible patients diagnosed with CRC from 2003 to 2007. Tissue microarray (TMA) blocks were made from 206 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded CRC tissues and 158 corresponding normal colonic tissues. Using the TMA blocks, we performed immunohistochemical staining of YAP and assessed its expression status in different subcellular locations. The patients were divided into four groups according to the expression status of YAP in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Statistical analysis was performed to explore the correlation between YAP expression and clinicopathological features and overall survival (OS) in CRC patients.

Results: Our results showed that both cytoplasmic YAP and nuclear YAP were overexpressed in CRC tissues compared to normal colonic tissues. Complete loss of YAP expression in CRC was significantly correlated with larger tumor size (p=0.023), proximal tumor location (p=0.038), higher tumor grade (p=0.022) and worse OS (p<0.001). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses revealed that complete loss of YAP expression was an independent indicator of poor prognosis in CRC (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Loss of YAP expression correlates with poor prognosis and may represent a subgroup with more aggressive biological features in CRC.

Keywords: Yes-associated protein, colorectal cancer, prognosis

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How to cite this article:
Zhang S, Wei Q, Yang Y, Qin H, Li X, Cai S, Ma Y. Loss of Yes-associated Protein Represents an Aggressive Subtype of Colorectal Cancer. J Cancer 2019; 10(3):689-696. doi:10.7150/jca.28333. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v10p0689.htm