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Cancer Res. 1999 Sep 15;59(18):4506-9.

Frequent mutation of beta-catenin and APC genes in primary colorectal tumors from patients with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.

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Hereditary Tumor Research Project, Tokyo Metropolitan Komagome Hospital, Japan.


Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is characterized by defective DNA mismatch repair, which results in genetic instability of tumors; however, only a few target genes have been recognized. Our previous study detected a low frequency of APC gene mutation (21%) in colorectal tumors from HNPCC patients, in contrast to a high frequency of APC gene alteration (>70%) in non-HNPCC tumors. Because both beta-catenin and ACP gene mutations have recently been shown to activate the same signaling pathway, we analyzed beta-catenin mutation in HNPCC tumors. A notable frequency of beta-catenin gene mutation (43%, 12 of 28) was found to occur in HNPCC colorectal tumors. Beta-catenin mutations were not detected in tumors with APC mutations. All beta-catenin mutations detected in HNPCC tumors existed within the regulatory domain of beta-catenin. Immunohistochemical staining of tumors with this mutation showed accumulation of beta-catenin protein in nuclei. These and previous data from our laboratory suggest that activation of the beta-catenin-Tcf signaling pathway, through either beta-catenin or APC mutation, contributes to HNPCC colorectal carcinogenesis in approximately 65% of cases.

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