PURPOSE: Although Recepteur d'Origine Nantais (RON), a member of the MET receptor tyrosine kinase family, is overexpressed and constitutively active in some primary tumors and tumor cell lines, its expression pattern and clinical significance in colorectal cancer are not well documented. METHODS: By using immunohistochemical staining, we examined RON and MET expression in 135 colorectal cancer specimens and investigated the association of the immunoreactivity of both receptors with colorectal cancer clinical parameters and prognosis. RESULTS: We found moderate to strong expression in 99 cases (73 percent) for RON and 97 cases (72 percent) for MET. Univariate analysis showed that increased immunoreactivity of RON or MET was associated with shorter patient survival and that moderate to strong coexpression of both receptors was associated with a significantly worse prognosis. Multivariate Cox analysis showed that the risk of tumor recurrence for patients with high-RON/high-MET expression was approximately 11 times greater than for patients with low-RON/low-MET expression (P=0.001). In addition, RON and MET expression levels were positively correlated (P≤0.001; τ=0.306). CONCLUSIONS: The crosstalk between RON and MET in colorectal cancer seems important. Evaluating the expression patterns of RON and MET was predictive of clinical outcome for patients with colorectal cancer.
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