Aberrant SOX2 expression in colorectal cancers does not correlate with mucinous differentiation and gastric mucin MUC5AC expression

Lalini Raghoebir, Katharina Biermann, Marjon Buscop-van Kempen, Hendrikus J Dubbink, Winand N M Dinjens, Remko Hersmus, Leendert H J Looijenga, Marco J Bruno, Dick Tibboel, Robbert J Rottier, Ron Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) can be divided into non-mucinous and mucinous subtypes, of which the latter portends to have a worse clinical prognosis. A previous study suggested a putative link between SOX2 expression observed selectively in mucinous CRC and the induction of the gastric mucin MUC5AC. In this study, we re-evaluated the expression behavior of SOX2, MUC5AC, and CDX2 in both types of CRC. We performed immunohistochemical analysis on 90 cases of non-mucinous CRCs, 57 cases of mucinous CRCs, and 15 case-matched normal intestinal mucosa. In contrast to the previously suggested link between SOX2 and mucinous CRC, we observe aberrant expression of SOX2 at equal levels in both subtypes. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis shows that expression is not attributed to genomic amplification. While SOX2 and CDX2 are normally expressed in a reciprocal manner, SOX2-positive tumor cells co-express CDX2. Furthermore, we show that MUC5AC is expressed independently of SOX2. In conclusion, we show that aberrant SOX2 expression is specifically linked neither to mucinous CRCs nor to the induction of MUC5AC, in contrast to previous suggestions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
JournalVirchows Archiv : an international journal of pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenocarcinoma/metabolism
  • CDX2 Transcription Factor
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/metabolism
  • Gastric Mucins/metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins/biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mucin 5AC/biosynthesis
  • SOXB1 Transcription Factors/biosynthesis


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