Background: Our aim was to determine whether the expression levels of specific genes could predict clinical radiosensitivity in human colorectal cancer. Methods: Radioresistant colorectal cancer cell lines were established by repeated X-ray exposure (total, 100 Gy), and the gene expressions of the parent and radioresistant cell lines were compared in a microarray analysis. To verify the microarray data, we carried out a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis of identified genes in clinical samples from 30 irradiated rectal cancer patients. Results: A comparison of the intensity data for the parent and three radioresistant cell lines revealed 17 upregulated and 142 downregulated genes in all radioresistant cell lines. Next, we focused on two upregulated genes, PTMA (prothymosin α) and EIF5a2 (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A), in the radioresistant cell lines. In clinical samples, the expression of PTMA was significantly higher in the minor effect group than in the major effect group (P = 0.004), but there were no significant differences in EIF5a2 expression between the two groups. Conclusions: We identified radiation-related genes in colorectal cancer and demonstrated that PTMA may play an important role in radiosensitivity. Our findings suggest that PTMA may be a novel marker for predicting the effectiveness of radiotherapy in clinical cases.
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