ZNF326 as a potential prognostic and predictive biomarker in stage II colorectal cancer

Hongjiang Pu, Shuai Zhang, Shan Yan, Chunxia Li, Jiangping Fu, Dingyun You, Tao Zhang, Zhenhui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adjuvant chemotherapy is considered for stage II colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with poor prognostic risk factors. However, current stratification algorithms are still insufficient to identify high-risk patients. Methods: We conducted a screening strategy to define ZNF326 based on quantitative proteomics in 11 paired CRC patients selected by a nested case-control design, and tested the association between ZNF326 expression level with the prognosis of stage II CRC patients and the benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy in public datasets; further investigation was conducted through subgroup analyses. Results: We found that low ZNF326 expression was significantly associated with a lower 5-year overall survival (OS) rate among stage II patients in both the discovery [P=0.008; hazard ratio (HR): 3.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.29–7.58] and validation (P=0.025; HR: 1.98, 95% CI: 1.08–3.65) cohorts. In the Cox multivariable analysis, low ZNF326 expression was both associated with shorter OS after adjustment for age, sex, and adjuvant chemotherapy in the discovery and validation data sets. Subgroup analyses yielded largely similar results. In a pooled database, the rate of 5-year OS was higher among stage II ZNF326-high tumors who were treated with adjuvant chemotherapy than it was among those who were not treated with adjuvant chemotherapy (P=0.011; HR: 0.28, 95% CI: 0.10–0.80). Conclusions: ZNF326 has the potential to be used in clinical practice for risk classification. ZNF326-low expression level identified a subgroup of patients with high-risk stage II CRC who appeared to less benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • ZNF326
  • adjuvant chemotherapy
  • colorectal cancer (CRC)
  • prognostic marker
  • proteomics


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