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Virchows Arch. 2000 Feb;436(2):109-14.

Increased in situ expression of nitric oxide synthase in human colorectal cancer.

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Department of Pathology, Hirosaki University School of Medicine, Japan.


There is growing evidence that nitric oxide (NO) has an important role in tumor growth. However, information on the expression of NO synthase (NOS) in colorectal cancers is scanty. We therefore investigated the distribution and expression of NOS in human colorectal cancers. The expression of three types of NOS, inducible (iNOS), endothelial (eNOS) and neuronal (nNOS), was examined by immunohistochemistry in 25 cases of colorectal cancer. The expression of iNOS was also investigated at the mRNA level using the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in 6 cases. Correlations were made between iNOS expression and the histopathological findings. Immunoreactive iNOS was detected in the tumor cells in 22 cases (88%) with diffuse cytoplasmic reactions. Expression of iNOS-mRNA detected by RT-PCR in three tumor tissues was over five-fold that in normal mucosa. Intensified immunoreactivity of iNOS was associated with vascular invasion. iNOS expression did not correlate with pathological staging, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, p53 expression or tumor vessel density. Immunoreactive eNOS stained more strongly in the endothelial cells of microvessels within and around the tumor than in the areas remote from the tumor. There is enhanced expression of iNOS and eNOS in human colorectal cancers, which may correlate with tumor growth and vascular invasion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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