, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 1107-1117
Date: 18 Jan 2013

SKP2 overexpression is associated with a poor prognosis of rectal cancer treated with chemoradiotherapy and represents a therapeutic target with high potential

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The S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (SKP2) oncoprotein is an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Overexpression of SKP2 was found in various human cancers, including colorectal cancers, but its potential role as a prognostic marker after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and for therapeutic intervention in rectal cancers is unknown. This study examined the correlation of SKP2 expression in the prognosis of rectal cancer patients and the viability of colorectal cancer cells treated with CRT. SKP2 immunoexpression was retrospectively assessed in pretreatment biopsies of 172 rectal cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant CRT followed by surgery. Results were correlated with clinicopathological features, therapeutic responses, and patient survival. Pharmacologic assays were used to evaluate the therapeutic relevance of Bortezomib in two colorectal cancer cell lines (HT-29 and SW480). High expression of SKP2 was correlated with the advanced Post-Tx nodal status (p = 0.002), Post-Tx International Union for Cancer Control stage (p = 0.002), and a lower-degree tumor regression grade (p < 0.001). Moreover, high expression of SKP2 (p = 0.027, hazard ratio 3.21) was an independent prognostic factor for local recurrence-free survival. In vitro, Bortezomib downregulated SKP2 expression, induced caspase activation, and decreased the viability of colorectal cancer cells with or without a combination with fluorouracil. Bortezomib also promoted caspase activation and gamma-H2AX formation in colorectal cancer cells concurrently treated with CRT. High expression of SKP2 was associated with a poor therapeutic response and adverse outcomes in rectal cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant CRT. In the presence of chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy, the promoted sensitivity of colorectal cancer cells to Bortezomib with an SKP2-repressing effect indicated that it is a potential therapeutic target.