Colorectal cancer (CRC) and diabetes are two of the most prevalent chronic diseases worldwide with dysregulated receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and strong co-occurrence correlation. Plasma autoantibodies represent a promising early diagnostic marker for both diseases before symptoms appear. In this study, we explore the value of autoantibodies against receptor-type tyrosine-protein phosphatase-like N (PTPRN; full-length or selected domains) as diagnostic markers using a cohort of individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D), CRC, or both diseases or healthy individuals. We show that PTPRN autoantibody levels in plasma discriminated between patients with T2D with and without CRC. Consistently, high PTPRN expression correlated with decreased survival of patients with CRC. Mechanistically, PTPRN depletion significantly reduced invasiveness of CRC cells in vitro and liver homing and metastasis in vivo by means of a dysregulation of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and a decrease of the insulin receptor signaling pathway. Therefore, PTPRN autoantibodies may represent a particularly helpful marker for the stratification of patients with T2D at high risk of developing CRC. Consistent with the critical role played by tyrosine kinases in diabetes and tumor biology, we provide evidence that tyrosine phosphatases such as PTPRN may hold potential as therapeutic targets in patients with CRC.

M.G.-A., G.S.-F., and A.M.-C. contributed equally to this work.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.17267837.

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