Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Cysteine and glycine-rich protein 1 (CSRP1) is involved in the cysteine-rich protein family and is a marker of smooth muscle lineages. In colon cancer, the expression of this gene is associated with poor prognosis. In this study, the aim was to reevaluate its prognostic relationship in independent cohorts and explore potential underlying biological processes that are linked to aggressive behavior in tumors with high CSRP1 expression, such as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), stromal fractions in the tumor microenvironment, and consensus molecular subtypes (CMSs). Materials and methods: RNA sequencing (RNAseq)-, microarray-, and single-cell RNAseq (scRNAseq)-based transcriptomic data were obtained from public databases. The EMT score was calculated based on the expression of E-cadherin and vimentin genes using a previously published method. The stromal score generated by the ESTIMATE method was utilized for the analysis of correlation with the CSRP1 expression. The scRNAseq data were analyzed via the Seurat R package. The immunohistochemistry-based protein level expression of CSRP1 was evaluated using the Human Protein Atlas database. Results: Lower CSRP1 expression was noted in colon tumors compared to normal colon tissue. Patients with a high CSRP1 expression had shorter recurrence-free, overall, and disease-specific survivals in the GSE39582 and GSE17536 datasets (p < 0.05). The methylation level of the CSRP1 gene was negatively correlated (r = -0.57, p < 0.0001) with CSRP1 expression in The Cancer Genome Atlas colon adenocarcinoma dataset. CSRP1 expression was positively correlated with the expression of mesenchymal markers, EMT score, and stromal score obtained via the ESTIMATE method. CMS4 colon tumors had a significantly higher CSRP1 expression compared to other CMSs. Analysis of the scRNAseq data revealed that CSRP1 was expressed by epithelial cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts in the colorectal tumor microenvironment, which was also confirmed by the protein expression data from the Human Protein Atlas database. Conclusion: CSRP1 expression is associated with CMS4, a more mesenchymal stroma-rich molecular profile, and poor prognosis in colon cancer.


Colon cancer, bioinformatics, gene expression, CSRP1, prognosis

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