An analytical method for the quantification of herg1 channel gene expression in human colorectal cancer

Angelo Fortunato, Luca Gasparoli, Sara Falsini, Boni Luca, Annarosa Arcangeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cancer molecular investigation revealed a huge molecular heterogeneity between different types of cancers as well as among cancer patients affected by the same cancer type. This implies the necessity of a personalized approach for cancer diagnosis and therapy, on the basis of the development of standardized protocols to facilitate the application of molecular techniques in the clinical decision-making process. Ion channels encoding genes are acquiring increasing relevance in oncological translational studies, representing new candidates for molecular diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Hence, the development of molecular protocols for the quantification of ion channels encoding genes in tumor specimens may have relevance for diagnostic and prognostic investigation. Two main hindrances must be overcome for these purposes: the use of formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded samples for gene expression analysis and the physiological expression of ion channels in excitable cells, potentially present in the tumor sample. We here propose a method for hERG1 gene quantification in colorectal cancer samples in both cryopreserved and formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded samples. An analytical method was developed to estimate hERG1 gene expression exclusively in epithelial cancer cells. Indeed, we found that the hERG1 gene was expressed at significant levels by myofibroblasts present in the tumor stroma. This method was based on the normalization on a smooth musclemyofibroblast- specific gene, MYH11, with no need of microdissection. By applying this method, hERG1 expression turned out to correlate with VEGF-A expression, confirming previous immunohistochemical data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalDiagnostic Molecular Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • HERG1
  • Ion channels
  • MYH11
  • Myofibroblasts
  • VEGF-A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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