1. Institute of Pathology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
2. Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
3. Munich Cancer Registry (MCR), Department of Medical Information Processing, Biometry and Epidemiology (IBE), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
4. German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Heidelberg, Germany
5. German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany
6. Institute of Pathology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
RBP7 is a member of the cellular retinol-binding protein (CRBP) family and previous data suggested a link between CRBPs and the malignant transformation of colon cancer cells. Here, we investigated the potential of RBP7 as a predictive biomarker for patients with colon cancer and determined its functional relevance for tumor progression. We analyzed RBP7 protein and mRNA expression in independent tissue collections of colon cancers with recorded follow-up data, including data from TCGA. We used gene set enrichment analyses to characterize its functional role. Effects of RBP7 on migration and invasion were determined in transwell assays. High expression of RBP7 was an independent biomarker of poor cancer specific survival in early and late stage colon cancer, and linked to colon cancer progression. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed a strong association of RBP7, colon cancer invasion and epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). Ectopic expression of RBP7 increased migration and invasion of colon cancer cells. Our findings demonstrate that RBP7 is a strong prognostic biomarker in colon cancer that functionally contributes to the malignant phenotype of colon cancer cells. This may aid in risk stratification for the therapeutic management of patients with colorectal cancer.
Keywords: RBP7, colon cancer, EMT, invasion, prognosis