1. Department of Nursing I, School of Nursing, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain
2. Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain
3. Department of Anatomic Pathology, Cruces University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Barakaldo, Bizkaia, Spain
4. Department of Anatomic Pathology, Basurto University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
5. BioCruces Health Research Institute, Barakaldo, Bizkaia, Spain
6. Department of Surgery, Basurto University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
7. Department of Cell Biology and Histology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain.
Background and Objective: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major health problem in developed countries. Adenomatous lesions in the large bowel are the main precursors of CRC and the adenoma-adenocarcinoma sequence still provides a solid model for research on carcinogenesis. The finding of local renin-angiotensin systems (RAS) has been crucial to understand the role of this peptidergic system in cancer and has opened new perspectives in the study of colorectal carcinogenetic processes.
Methods: In this study we analyzed the immunohistochemical expression of three main RAS receptors (AT1, AT2 and MAS) in a large series of CRC samples (n=161), including uninvolved intestinal mucosa-adenoma-adenocarcinoma sequences from the same patients (n=50).
Results: 1) AT1 and AT2 showed a biphasic expression pattern along the sequence. The expression significantly decreased in adenomas with respect to uninvolved mucosa but increased in CRCs. 2) AT2 expression was lower in advanced CRCs with high local invasion (pT4), high stage (IV), high nodal (N2) and vascular invasion. 3) MAS receptor was moderately expressed in the uninvolved mucosa and in adenomas. This expression increased very significantly in CRC tissues.
Conclusions: These results suggest that: 1) RAS receptors are differentially regulated as the genetic and epigenetic alterations accumulate throughout the uninvolved mucosa-adenoma-CRC sequence. 2) Loss of AT2 expression could contribute to the aggressive behavior of advanced CRC cells.
Keywords: Renin-angiotensin system, receptor, adenoma, colorectal cancer, biomarkers