02.05 COMP Gene Is Over-expressed in Early-Onset Colon Cancer and Associated with Poor Survival.

V. N. Nfonsam1, J. Koblinski1, J. Jandova1  1University Of Arizona,Surgery,Tucson, AZ, USA

Introduction: Although the overall incidence of colon cancer (CC) has steadily declined over the last three decades, the incidence has increased in patients younger than 50. The etiology of early-onset (EO) CC is not fully understood. COMP gene has been shown to confer tumor aggressiveness in pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study was to elucidate gene expression patterns in EOCC and show its uniqueness compared to late-onset (LO) disease.

Methods: Two cohorts of patients with sporadic CC were identified. Tumors and matching noninvolved tissues from six EOCC patients (<50) and six late-onset colon cancers (LOCC) patients (>65) were obtained from pathology archives. De-paraffinized tissues were macro-dissected from FFPE sections, RNA isolated, and used for expression profiling of 770 cancer-related genes representing 13 canonical pathways. Survival analysis was performed using the cBioPortal for cancer genomics using 382 CRC patients from the TCGA Provisional database.

Results:Among 770 genes assayed, changes in expression levels of 93 genes were statistically significant between EOCC and matching noninvolved tissues. There were also significant differences in expression levels of 118 genes between LOCC and matching noninvolved tissues. Detailed comparative gene expression analysis between EOCC and LOCC normalized to their matching noninvolved tissues revealed that changes in expression of 88 genes were unique to EOCC using the cutoff criteria of expression levels difference >2 fold and P value <0.01. From these differentially expressed genes specific to EOCC, 28 genes were upregulated and 60 genes downregulated. At the pathway level, PI3K-AKT signaling was the most deregulated pathway in EOCC and cell cycle in LOCC. COMP glycoprotein was one of the genes that were uniquely over-expressed in EOCC. Survival analysis of 382 patients with CRC tumors using the cBioPortal for cancer genomics showed that CRC patients with alterations (all of them with up-regulated COMP) in COMP expression present with poorer overall survival compared to patients without alterations in COMP expression.

These results suggest that sporadic EOCC is characterized by distinct molecular events compared to LOCC. In addition, COMP glycoprotein is associated with poor overall survival. COMP gene can potentially serve as a novel biomarker associated with EOCC as COMP glycoproteins could be detected in serum and urine.