Original Article Elevated cleaved caspase-3 is associated with shortened overall survival in several cancer types

Qian Hu, Jing Peng, Weiping Liu, Xiaoli He, Ling Cui, Xinlian Chen, Mei Yang, Hongqian Liu, Shanling Liu, He Wang
2014 Int J Clin Exp Pathol   unpublished
Emerging evidence has indicated that apoptotic cells have a compensatory effect on the proliferation of neighboring cells. Recent studies have shown that apoptotic tumor cells stimulate the repopulation of tumors from a small number of surviving cells by cleaved caspase-3 regulation and elevated tumor cleaved (and thus activated) caspase-3 expression levels predict worse treatment outcomes in cancer patients. The prognostic significance of cleaved caspase-3 should be demonstrated in more human
more » ... ated in more human cancer types and larger subjects. Here, we examined the cleaved caspase-3 expression in 367 human tumor samples (gastric cancer: 97 cases, ovarian cancer: 65 cases, cervical cancer: 104 cases; colorectal cancer: 101 cases) with immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the relationship between the expression of cleaved caspase-3 and various clinicopathological factors were also detected. We found that, cleaved caspase-3 was significantly associated with pathological risk factors (P < 0.005) for the studied cancers, such as tumor stage, lymph-node metastasis, differentiation and so on. In univariate and multivariate analysis, patients with high expression of cleaved caspase-3 had a significant shorter overall survival time compared with those with low cleaved caspase-3 expression in gastric cancer (P < 0.001), ovarian cancer (P < 0.001), cervical cancer (P = 0.002), colorectal cancer (P < 0.001) individually and in the patients combined (P < 0.001). Cox regression results suggested cleaved caspase-3 as an independent prognosis predictor for the studied four cancer types. Our study showed cleaved caspase-3 was well correlated to progression, aggressive behaviors in the studied cancer, and implicated it as a potential predictive factor for the prognosis of the four cancer types. It also indicated cleaved caspase-3 as a potential therapeutic target for cancer patients.