Circulating MIC-1/GDF15 is a complementary screening biomarker with CEA and correlates with liver metastasis and poor survival in colorectal cancer

Xiaobing Wang, Zhaogang Yang, Haimei Tian, Yanfen Li, Mo Li, Wenya Zhao, Chao Zhang, Teng Wang, Jing Liu, Aili Zhang, Di Shen, Cuining Zheng, Jun Qi, Dan Zhao, Junfeng Shi, Liliang Jin, Jianyu Rao, Wei Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1/GDF15) has been characterized as a candidate biomarker for colorectal cancer (CRC) recently. However, the role of serum MIC-1 in screening patients with early stage CRC and monitoring therapeutic response have not been well-established, particularly in the combination with CEA for the screening and the prejudgment of occurrence with liver metastasis. In this study, we performed a retrospective blinded evaluation of 987 serum samples from 473 individuals with CRC, 25 with adenomatous polyps, and 489 healthy individuals using ELISA or immunoassay. The sensitivity of serum MIC-1 was 43.8% and 38.5% for CRC diagnosis and early diagnosis, respectively, which were independent of and comparatively higher than for CEA (36.6% and 27.3%) at comparable specificity. Serum MIC-1 after surgery were significantly elevated at the time of tumor recurrence, and notable increase were observed in 100% patients with liver metastasis. Besides the TNM classification and differentiation grade, MIC-1 was an independent prognostic factor contributing to overall survival. We conclude that MIC-1 can act as a candidate complementary biomarker for screening early-stage CRC by combination with CEA, and furthermore, for the first time, identify a promising prognostic indicator for monitoring recurrence with liver metastasis, to support strategies towards personalized therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24892-24901
Number of pages10
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Biomarker
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Liver metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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