TRIM28 is a multi-domain nuclear protein with pleotropic effects in both normal and tumor cells. In this study, TRIM28 expression in epithelial and stromal tumor microenvironment and its prognostic role in colorectal cancer were investigated. Immunohistological staining of TRIM28 was evaluated in tissue microarrays constructed from 137 colorectal cancer patients. The correlations of TRIM28 expression with clinicopathological features and p53 expression were studied. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazard modeling were used to assess overall survival (OS) and recurrence-free survival (RFS). Strong epithelial TRIM28 expression was found in 42% of colorectal cancer tissues. TRIM28 expression correlated significantly with p53 expression in matched cases (P=0.0168, Spearman rank test). A high epithelial to stromal TRIM28 expression ratio was associated with shorter OS (P=0.033; log-rank test) and RFS (P=0.043; log-rank test). Multivariate analysis showed that the epithelial to stromal TRIM28 expression ratio was an independent predictor of OS (hazard ratio=2.136; 95% confidence interval 1.015-4.498, P=0.046) and RFS (hazard ratio=2.100; confidence interval 1.052-4.191, P=0.035). A high TRIM28 expression ratio between stromal and epithelial compartments in colorectal cancer tissue is an independent predictor of poor prognosis. The pathophysiological role of TRIM28 in carcinogenesis may be dependent on expression levels and cell type within the tumor microenvironment.
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