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Henry LR , Lee HO , Lee JS , Klein-Szanto A , Watts P , Ross EA , Chen WT , Cheng JD
Clinical implications of fibroblast activation protein in patients with colon cancer
Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Mar 15;13(6) :1736-41
PMID: 17363526   
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PURPOSE: Human fibroblast activation protein (FAP)/seprase is a 97-kDa surface glycoprotein expressed on tumor associated fibroblasts in the majority of epithelial cancers including colon adenocarcinomas. FAP overexpression in human tumor cells has been shown to promote tumor growth in animal models, and clinical trials targeting FAP enzymatic activity have been initiated. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the clinical significance of stromal FAP in human colon cancers by immunohistochemisty. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Sections of paraffin-embedded resected primary human colon cancer specimens from 1996 through 2001 within the Fox Chase Cancer Center tumor bank were stained with D8 antibody directed against FAP/seprase. Xenotransplanted human colorectal tumors in mice were examined similarly for stromal FAP in tumors of different sizes. Overall percentage of stromal FAP staining of the primary tumor was assessed semiquantitatively (0, 1+, 2+, 3+) and staining intensity was also graded (none, weak, intermediate, strong). Survival time and time to recurrence data were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier plots, log-rank tests, and Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: One hundred thirty-eight patients with resected specimens were available for study (mean follow-up, 1,050 days) with 6 (4%) stage I, 52 (38%) stage II, 43 (31%) stage III, and 37 (27%) stage IV patients. FAP was detected in >93% of specimens. Semiquantitative staining was scored as 1+ in 28 (20%), 2+ in 52 (38%), and 3+ in 49 (35%). FAP staining intensity was graded as weak in 45 (33%), intermediate in 48 (35%), and dark in 36 (26%). Stromal FAP was found to correlate inversely with tumor stage (semiquantitative, P = 0.01; intensity, P = 0.009) and with tumor size of the tumor xenograft model (correlation coefficient, -0.61; P = 0.047), suggesting that stromal FAP may have a greater role in the early development of tumors. Furthermore, greater stromal FAP for patients with known metastatic disease was associated with a decreased survival. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that patients whose colon tumors have high levels of stromal FAP are more likely to have aggressive disease progression and potential development of metastases or recurrence. This study affirms the rationale for ongoing clinical investigations using FAP as a therapeutic target to disrupt FAP-driven tumor progression in patients with metastatic disease. It also suggests that the effects of FAP inhibition should be investigated in earlier-stage tumors, given its high levels and potential effect earlier in the course of the disease.