Growth hormone receptor overexpression predicts response of rectal cancers to pre-operative radiotherapy

Published on Thursday, 03 January 2019


In this study, we evaluated the possible role of Growth Hormone Receptor (GHR) expression pattern in determining rectal cancer radiosensitivity.

We examined GHR expression in pre-treatment biopsy materials and post-operative specimens from 98 patients by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). GHR expression was evaluated for association with tumour radiosensitivity, which was defined according to Rectal Cancer Regression Grade (RCRG).

IHC results demonstrated that GHR overexpression was significantly associated with a poor response to radiotherapy (P < 0.001, r(s) = 0.399); RT-PCR detection of GHR expression on pre-radiation biopsy specimens also showed that GHR mRNA negative group had a higher radiation sensitivity (P < 0.001, r(s) = 0.398).

Compared with the pre-radiation biopsy specimens, the paired post-operative specimens showed a significantly up-regulated GHR expression in the reliquus cancer cells (P < 0.001).

In conclusion, GHR expression levels may be an indicator for rectal cancer radiosensitivity before pre-operative irradiation.

The administration of GHR antagonist may have the potential to increase rectal cancer radiosensitivity.


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