, Volume 59, Issue 8, pp 1163-1171
Date: 24 Mar 2010

Clinical significance and regulation of the costimulatory molecule B7-H3 in human colorectal carcinoma


B7-H3, a member of the B7-family molecules, plays an important role in adaptive immune responses, and was shown to either promote or inhibit T-cell responses in various experimental systems. B7-H3 was expressed in some human cancers and correlated with poor outcome of cancer patients. However, its exact role in cancer is not known. In the present study, we studied the expression of B7-H3 in the pathologic specimens of 102 patients treated for colorectal carcinoma (CRC) by immunohistochemistry. Strong B7-H3 expression was found in cancer tissues from 54.3% CRC patients, while minimal expression was found in adjacent normal colorectal tissues. Higher B7-H3 expression in tumor positively correlated with a more advanced tumor grade. In addition, consistent with a role of B7-H3 in suppressing tumor immune surveillance, the expression of B7-H3 in cancer cells negatively correlated with the intensity of tumor infiltrating T lymphocytes in both tumor nest and tumor stroma. Furthermore, we found that the level of soluble B7-H3 in sera from CRC patients was higher than healthy donors. TNF-α, an important cancer-promoting inflammatory molecule, was subsequently found to significantly increase the release of soluble B7-H3 in colon cancer cell lines. Therefore, our data suggest that both soluble and membranous B7-H3 proteins are involved in colon cancer progression and evasion of cancer immune surveillance.

J. Sun and L. Chen contributed equally to this work.