Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 141, Issue 2, pp 229–235 | Cite as

SALL4 as a new biomarker for early colorectal cancers

  • Sima Ardalan Khales
  • Mohammad Reza Abbaszadegan
  • Abbas Abdollahi
  • Reza Raeisossadati
  • Mohsen Fallah Tousi
  • Mohammad Mahdi ForghanifardEmail author
Original Article – Cancer Research



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common causes of cancer-related death worldwide, and there is an urgent need to identify critical diagnostic and prognostic factors for early detection of the disease. Our aim in this study was to elucidate absolute copy number of SALL4 mRNA in the peripheral blood and serum of CRC patients to evaluate its probable prognostic or diagnostic value for CRC.


Peripheral mononuclear cells from 111 cases were examined using absolute quantitative real-time RT-PCR to assess the exact copy number of SALL4 and CEA mRNA. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves were also depicted to detect the sensitivity and specificity of SALL4 mRNA.


The blood copy number of SALL4 in recruited CRC patients was significantly higher than healthy controls (p = 0.0001). This high copy number was not only inversely associated with the depth of tumor invasion (p = 0.045), but also was significantly correlated with the high grade of tumor differentiation (p = 0.029) and sex (p = 0.027). Furthermore, the copy number of SALL4 was elevated in all examined serum samples (p = 0.0001) in significant association with high grade of tumor differentiation (p = 0.026) and patients’ age (p = 0.012). ROC analysis indicated 96.1 and 95 % sensitivity and specificity of SALL4 for CRC screening, respectively.


Early detection of CRC is directly correlated to improved outcomes, increased survival rates and reduced mortality. Our results can introduce SALL4 as a critical biomarker for efficient screening of patients to detect early stages of CRC.


SALL4 CEA Colorectal cancer Prognosis marker 



This study was supported by a grant from Vice chancellor of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (#911253).

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sima Ardalan Khales
    • 1
  • Mohammad Reza Abbaszadegan
    • 2
  • Abbas Abdollahi
    • 3
  • Reza Raeisossadati
    • 4
  • Mohsen Fallah Tousi
    • 5
  • Mohammad Mahdi Forghanifard
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Human Genetics, Immunology Research Center, Avicenna Research InstituteMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  2. 2.Medical Genetics Research Center, Medical SchoolMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  3. 3.Department of General Surgery, Omid HospitalMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  4. 4.Núcleo de Cognição e Sistemas Complexos, Centro de Matemática, Computação e CogniçãoUniversidade Federal do ABCSanto AndréBrazil
  5. 5.Department of General Surgery, Emam Reza HospitalMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  6. 6.Department of BiologyDamghan Branch, Islamic Azad UniversityDamghanIran

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