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J Histochem Cytochem. 1999 Aug;47(8):1039-48.

Immunohistochemical staining patterns of MUC1, MUC2, MUC4, and MUC5AC mucins in hyperplastic polyps, serrated adenomas, and traditional adenomas of the colorectum.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Mayne Medical School, University of Queensland, Herston, Australia.


We studied the distribution of the four human apomucins MUC1, MUC2, MUC4, and MUC5AC in hyperplastic polyps, serrated adenomas, and traditional adenomas of the colorectum using immunohistochemical techniques, with the aim of comparing and contrasting their patterns of expression. A series of 12 hyperplastic polyps, 27 serrated adenomas, and 20 traditional adenomas was studied. No significant change in apomucin expression was observed in traditional adenomas compared with normal colorectal epithelium, except for MUC5AC, which was present in 12 of the adenomas (60%) and only 20% of the normal samples. In both hyperplastic polyps and serrated adenomas, MUC2 and MUC5AC mucin expression was consistently and markedly increased. In 50% of the hyperplastic polyps, MUC4 was reduced but in the remaining cases was similar to normal. Loss of MUC4 expression was observed in all serrated adenomas. MUC1 was not increased in the hyperplastic polyps but increased expression was seen in 17 of the serrated adenomas (63%). Similar altered distribution patterns of MUC2, MUC4, and MUC5AC were seen in hyperplastic polyps and serrated adenomas, whereas traditional adenomas showed little change from normal patterns of expression. Although hyperplastic polyps are commonly defined as benign lesions without neoplastic potential, the similar phenotypes of hyperplastic and serrated adenomas and the existence of mixed polyps suggest that these lesions may represent a histogenetic continuum.

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