Background & Aims: The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARG, PPARgamma) is a nuclear receptor that regulates expression of mediators of lipid metabolism and the inflammatory response. There is controversy over the pro-oncogenic or antioncogenic effects of PPARG, and little is known about its prognostic significance in colon cancer. Methods: Among 470 patients with colorectal cancer (stages I-IV) identified in 2 independent prospective cohorts, PPARG expression was detected in 102 tumors (22%) by immunohistochemistry. Cox proportional hazards models were used to compute hazard ratios (HRs) of colorectal cancer-specific and overall mortalities, adjusted for patient characteristics and molecular features including cyclooxygenase 2, fatty acid synthase, KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA, p53, p21, β-catenin, LINE-1 hypomethylation, microsatellite instability (MSI), and the CpG island methylation phenotype (CIMP). Results: Compared with patients with PPARG-negative tumors, patients with PPARG-positive tumors had significantly lower overall mortality, determined by Kaplan-Meier analysis (P = .0047), univariate Cox regression (HR, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-0.84; P = .0053), and multivariate analysis (adjusted HR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.27-0.69; P = .0004). Patients with PPARG-positive tumors experienced lower colorectal cancer-specific mortality (adjusted HR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.25-0.79; P = .0054). The relationship between PPARG and lower mortality did not appear to be significantly modified by MSI, CIMP, LINE-1, or the other clinical and molecular variables examined (all Pinteraction > .05). Conclusions: Tumor expression of PPARG is independently associated with longer survival of patients. PPARG expression appears to mark an indolent subset of colorectal cancers.
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