Br J Cancer 2019 Apr 27;120(7):675-688. Epub 2019 Feb 27.
Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
Background: Patients with borderline resectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) frequently receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NC) to reduce tumour burden, thus making surgical resection feasible. Even though NC can induce severe liver injury, most studies investigating tissue-based prognostic markers focus on tumour tissue. Here, we assessed the prognostic significance of pyruvate-dehydrogenase-kinase isoenzyme 4 (PDK4) within liver tissue of patients undergoing surgical resection due to CRLM.
Methods: Transcript levels of hypoxia-adaptive genes (such as PDK isoenzymes) were assessed in the tissue of healthy liver, corresponding CRLM, healthy colon mucosa and corresponding tumour. Uni- and multivariate analyses were performed. Responses to chemotherapy upon up- or down-regulation of PDK4 were studied in vitro.
Results: PDK4 expression within healthy liver tissue was associated with increased overall survival and liver function following surgical resection of CRLM. This association was enhanced in patients with NC. PDK4 expression in CRLM tissue did not correlate with overall survival. Up-regulation of PDK4 increased the resistance of hepatocytes and colon cancer cells against chemotherapy-induced toxicity, whereas knockdown of PDK4 enhanced chemotherapy-associated cell damage.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that up-regulated PDK4 expression reduces hepatic chemotherapy-induced oxidative stress and is associated with improved postoperative liver function in patients undergoing multimodal treatment and resection of CRLM.