Heme Oxygenase-1 & 2 and their potential contribution in heme induced colorectal carcinogenesis

Sujani Gamage, Sachith Nanayakkara, Lilian Macfarlane, Dinu Hewage, Tracie Cheng, Sharmin Aktar, Cu Tai Lu, Lakal Dissabandara, Farhadul Islam, Alfred King yin Lam, Vinod Gopalan

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number153885
JournalPathology Research and Practice
Early online date7 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


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