Smad4 loss in colorectal cancer patients correlates with recurrence, loss of immune infiltrate, and chemoresistance

Isaac Wasserman, Lik Hang Lee, Shuji Ogino, Michael R. Marco, Chao Wu, Xi Chen, Jashodeep Datta, Eran Sadot, Bryan Szeglin, Jose G. Guillem, Philip B. Paty, Martin R. Weiser, Garrett M. Nash, Leonard Saltz, Afsar Barlas, Katia Manova-Todorova, Srijaya Prakash Babu Uppada, Arthur E. Elghouayel, Peter Ntiamoah, Jonathan N. GlickmanTsuyoshi Hamada, Keisuke Kosumi, Kentaro Inamura, Andrew T. Chan, Reiko Nishihara, Andrea Cercek, Karuna Ganesh, Nancy E. Kemeny, Punita Dhawan, Rona Yaeger, Charles L. Sawyers, Julio Garcia-Aguilar, Marios Giannakis, Jinru Shia, J. Joshua Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Purpose: SMAD4 has shown promise in identifying patients with colorectal cancer at high risk of recurrence or death. Experimental Design: A discovery cohort and independent validation cohort were classified by SMAD4 status. SMAD4 status and immune infiltrate measurements were tested for association with recurrence-free survival (RFS). Patient-derived xenografts from SMAD4-deficient and SMAD4-retained tumors were used to examine chemoresistance. Results: The discovery cohort consisted of 364 patients with stage I–IV colorectal cancer. Median age at diagnosis was 53 years. The cohort consisted of 61% left-sided tumors and 62% stage II/III patients. Median follow-up was 5.4 years (inter-quartile range, 2.3–8.2). SMAD4 loss, noted in 13% of tumors, was associated with higher tumor and nodal stage, adjuvant therapy use, fewer tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), and lower peritumoral lymphocyte aggregate (PLA) scores (all P < 0.04). SMAD4 loss was associated with worse RFS (P ¼ 0.02). When stratified by SMAD4 and immune infiltrate status, patients with SMAD4 loss and low TIL or PLA had worse RFS (P ¼ 0.002 and P ¼ 0.006, respectively). Among patients receiving 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based systemic chemotherapy, those with SMAD4 loss had a median RFS of 3.8 years compared with 13 years for patients with SMAD4 retained. In xenografted mice, the SMAD4-lost tumors displayed resistance to 5-FU. An independent cohort replicated our findings, in particular, the association of SMAD4 loss with decreased immune infiltrate, as well as worse disease-specific survival. Conclusions: Our data show SMAD4 loss correlates with worse clinical outcome, resistance to chemotherapy, and decreased immune infiltrate, supporting its use as a prognostic marker in patients with colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1948-1956
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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