Research Article: TULP3: A potential biomarker in colorectal cancer?

Date Published: January 14, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Ivaine Taís Sauthier Sartor, Mariana Recamonde-Mendoza, Patricia Ashton-Prolla, Yves St-Pierre.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in women and the third most common cancer in men globally. The identification of differentially expressed genes associated to patient’s clinical data may represent a useful approach to find important genes in CRC carcinogenesis. Previously, the TULP3 transcription factor was identified as a possible prognostic biomarker in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Considering that pancreatic and colorectal tissues have the same embryonic origin, we investigated the profile of TULP3 expression in CRC hypothesizing that it may have a role in its development. We comparatively analysed TULP3 gene expression in CRC and normal adjacent colonic tissue and assessed association of expression profiles with survival and clinicopathological information, using publicly available datasets. TULP3 expression levels were increased in CRC when compared to the adjacent non-tumoral tissue. In addition, higher TULP3 gene expression was associated to lymphatic and vascular invasion in colon adenocarcinoma (COAD) and rectum adenocarcinoma (READ), respectively. In summary, our results point to a possible role of TULP3 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in CRC. Additional studies are necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.

Partial Text

The global impact of cancer incidence and mortality is increasing, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In 2020, more than 17 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed and about 10 million deaths in both sexes will be related to cancer [1]. Among all types of cancer, gastrointestinal (GI) tumors (those affecting the esophagus, pancreas, stomach and intestines) are responsible for approximately 20% of all diagnosed cancers worldwide and about 15% of cancer-related deaths [2].

TULP3 belongs to a family of proteins that possess a tubby domain in C-terminal, which exhibits a conserved nuclear localization and allows it to act as a transcription factor [18]. In a study of mammalian development [19], the authors have demonstrated the important role of Tulp3 gene since its expression is ubiquitous throughout embryonic mice development and knockout of Tulp3 leads to neural tube defects and embryonic lethality.

To the best of our knowledge, this preliminary study is the first one to describe increased TULP3 gene expression in CRC compared to adjacent non-tumoral tissue, and to associate increased gene expression to vascular and lymphatic invasion in CRC. These results point to a possible role of TULP3 as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in colorectal cancer.




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