Expression and DNA methylation of TNF, IFNG and FOXP3 in colorectal cancer and their prognostic significance

S K Ganapathi, A D Beggs, S V Hodgson, D Kumar

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24 Citations (Scopus)
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Background:Colorectal cancer (CRC) progression is associated with suppression of host cell-mediated immunity and local immune escape mechanisms. Our aim was to assess the immune function in terms of expression of TNF, IFNG and FOXP3 in CRC.Methods:Sixty patients with CRC and 15 matched controls were recruited. TaqMan quantitative PCR and methylation-specific PCR was performed for expression and DNA methylation analysis of TNF, IFNG and FOXP3. Survival analysis was performed over a median follow-up of 48 months.Results:TNF was suppressed in tumour and IFNG was suppressed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with CRC. Tumours showed enhanced expression of FOXP3 and was significantly higher when tumour size was >38 mm (median tumour size; P=0.006, Mann-Whitney U-test). Peripheral blood mononuclear cell IFNG was suppressed in recurrent CRC (P=0.01). Methylated TNFpromoter (P=0.003) and TNFexon1 (P=0.001) were associated with significant suppression of TNF in tumours. Methylated FOXP3cpg was associated with significant suppression of FOXP3 in both PBMC (P=0.018) and tumours (P=0.010). Reduced PBMC FOXP3 expression was associated with significantly worse overall survival (HR=8.319, P=0.019).Conclusions:We have detected changes in the expression of immunomodulatory genes that could act as biomarkers for prognosis and future immunotherapeutic strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Early online date16 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Accepted 5 August 2014


  • expression
  • DNA methylation
  • TNF
  • IFNG
  • FOXP3
  • survival


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