The non-invasive diagnosis of colorectal cancer via a SOX9-based gene panel

Vivian Weiwen Xue, Simon Siu Man Ng, Hin Fung Tsang, Heong Ting Wong, Wing Wa Leung, Yee Ni Wong, Yin Kwan Evelyn Wong, Allen Chi Shing Yu, Aldrin Kay Yuen Yim, William Chi Shing Cho, William Chi Shing Tai, Sze Chuen Cesar Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) threatens human health seriously. Early diagnosis of CRC is critical to improving patient survival. Meanwhile, non-invasive detection through tumor-circulating markers can be an important auxiliary diagnosis. In this study, we performed targeted RNA sequencing in paired tumor and adjacent normal fresh frozen tissues from 68 patients, and we also measured circulating mRNA levels in 4 time-point plasma samples collected before and after operation or chemotherapy. Our results showed that SOX9 (6.73-fold with adjusted p value < 1 × 10–45), MYC (20.59-fold with adjusted p value < 1 × 10–57), and MMP7 (131.94-fold with adjusted p value < 1 × 10–78) highly expressed in tumor compared with adjacent normal tissues. Besides, the circulating mRNA of SOX9 (41.14-fold with adjusted p value < 1 × 10–13) in CRC was significantly higher than in the normal control as well. Moreover, a SOX9-based 9-gene panel (SOX9, GSK3A, FZD4, LEF1, DVL1, FZD7, NFATC1, KRT19, and RUVBL1) showed the non-invasive diagnostic value of CRC (AUC: 0.863 (0.766–0.960), TPR: 0.92, TNR: 0.87). In summary, SOX9 expression consistently increases in tumor and plasma samples from CRC patients, which indicates the important role of SOX9 in CRC progression and its potential in non-invasive diagnosis of CRC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Circulating mRNA
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Non-invasive diagnosis
  • Targeted RNA sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The non-invasive diagnosis of colorectal cancer via a SOX9-based gene panel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this