NPTX2 is associated with neoadjuvant therapy response in rectal cancer

Georgios Karagkounis, Leo Thai, Jennifer Devecchio, Gerald A. Gantt, Leonardo Duraes, Rish K. Pai, Matthew F. Kalady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Neoadjuvant chemoradiation (CRT) is recommended for locally advanced rectal cancer. Tumor response varies from pathologic complete response (pCR) to no tumor regression. The mechanisms behind CRT resistance remain undefined. In our previously generated complementary DNA microarrays of pretreatment biopsies from rectal cancer patients, neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2) expression discriminated patients with pCR from those with residual tumor. As tumor response is prognostic for survival, we sought to evaluate the clinical relevance of NPTX2 in rectal cancer. Materials and methods Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to evaluate NPTX2 messenger RNA expression in individual rectal cancers before CRT. Tumors with NPTX2 expression <50% of normal rectum were defined as NPTX2-low and those with >50% were defined as NPTX2-high. NPTX2 levels were compared to response to therapy and oncologic outcomes using Mann-Whitney, Kruskal-Wallis, chi-square, and Mantel-Cox (log-rank) tests, as appropriate. Results Rectal cancers from 40 patients were included. The mean patient age was 56.8 years, and 30% were female. pCR was achieved in eight of 40 patients (20%). In these patients, messenger RNA NPTX2 levels were significantly decreased compared to those with residual cancer (fold change 30.4, P = 0.017). Patients with NPTX2-low tumors (n = 13) achieved improved response to treatment (P = 0.012 versus NPXT2-high tumors), with 38.5% and 46.1% of patients achieving complete or moderate response, respectively. Of patients with NPTX2-high tumors (n = 27), 11.1% and 18.5% achieved complete or moderate response, respectively. No recurrence or death was recorded in patients with NPTX2-low tumors, reflecting more favorable disease-free survival (P = 0.045). Conclusions Decreased NPTX2 expression in rectal adenocarcinomas is associated with improved response to CRT and improved prognosis. Further studies to validate these results and elucidate the biological role of NPTX2 in rectal cancer are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-117
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemoradiation
  • Complete response
  • NPTX2
  • Rectal cancer
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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