Literature suggests Heme oxygenase (HO) system to be a double-edged sword which can promote both cytoprotection as well as carcinogenicity. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of heme in HO-1 and HO-2 induced colorectal carcinogenesis and the clinicopathological significance of their expressions in patients with colorectal carcinoma (CRC).
HO-1 and HO-2 expression alterations in normal colonic epithelial (FHC) and colon cancer cells (SW480) were explored following treatment with 0 µM, 25 µM, 100 µM and 250 µM concentrations of hemin, using qPCR. Fifty paired CRC and adjacent non-neoplastic samples were subjected to qPCR to determine the HO-1 and HO-2 expression. Clinicopathological associations of HO-1 and HO-2 expression levels were determined.
Low concentrations of hemin caused upregulation and high concentration caused downregulation of HO-1 expression, whereas HO-2 expression was significantly downregulated with all hemin concentrations in FHC. HO-1 expression in SW480 was increased with all hemin concentrations and HO-2 expression was downregulated at the highest hemin concentration. HO-1 and HO-2 expressions in adjacent non-neoplastic tissue was significantly higher than that of CRC. Expression of HO-1 was significantly higher than HO-2, in both CRC and adjacent non-neoplastic tissue. Sex, HFE expression and lymph-vascular invasion were significantly correlated with HO-1 expression. HO-2 expression showed significant associations with staging, local spread and recurrence of tumour.
HO-1 and HO-2 expression is respectively induced and repressed by exogenous hemin in normal colon and colon cancer cells. HO-1 and HO-2 expression profiles in CRC are correlated with the assessed clinicopathological features of CRC, suggesting the possible implications of HO expression status in CRC pathogenesis.