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Mol Cell Biol. Mar 1992; 12(3): 1387–1395.
PMCID: PMC369572

Progression of colorectal cancer is associated with multiple tumor suppressor gene defects but inhibition of tumorigenicity is accomplished by correction of any single defect via chromosome transfer.

Abstract

Carcinogenesis is a multistage process that has been characterized both by the activation of cellular oncogenes and by the loss of function of tumor suppressor genes. Colorectal cancer has been associated with the activation of ras oncogenes and with the deletion of multiple chromosomal regions including chromosomes 5q, 17p, and 18q. Such chromosome loss is often suggestive of the deletion or loss of function of tumor suppressor genes. The candidate tumor suppressor genes from these regions are, respectively, MCC and/or APC, p53, and DCC. In order to further our understanding of the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in tumor progression and, thereby, of normal cell growth, it is important to determine whether defects in one or more of these loci contribute functionally in the progression to malignancy in colorectal cancer and whether correction of any of these defects restores normal growth control in vitro and in vivo. To address this question, we have utilized the technique of microcell-mediated chromosome transfer to introduce normal human chromosomes 5, 17, and 18 individually into recipient colorectal cancer cells. Additionally, chromosome 15 was introduced into SW480 cells as an irrelevant control chromosome. While the introduction of chromosome 17 into the tumorigenic colorectal cell line SW480 yielded no viable clones, cell lines were established after the introduction of chromosomes 15, 5, and 18. Hybrids containing chromosome 18 are morphologically similar to the parental line, whereas those containing chromosome 5 are morphologically distinct from the parental cell line, being small, polygonal, and tightly packed. SW480-chromosome 5 hybrids are strongly suppressed for tumorigenicity, while SW480-chromosome 18 hybrids produce slowly growing tumors in some of the animals injected. Hybrids containing the introduced chromosome 18 but was significantly reduced in several of the tumor reconstitute cell lines. Introduction of chromosome 5 had little to no effect on responsiveness, whereas transfer ot chromosome 18 restored responsiveness to some degree. Our findings indicate that while multiple defects in tumor suppressor genes seem to be required for progression to the malignant state in colorectal cancer, correction of only a single defect can have significant effects in vivo and/or in vitro.

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