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Gastroenterology. 2001 Jun;120(7):1680-8.

Aberrant expression of G1-phase cell cycle regulators in flat and exophytic adenomas of the human colon.

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  • 1Department of Cell Cycle and Cancer, Institute of Cancer Biology, Copenhagen, Denmark.



The G1/S-phase controlling mechanism known as the RB pathway is commonly deregulated in human malignancies. Here, the abundance and localization of key components of the retinoblastoma (RB) pathway were determined in exophytic and flat colorectal adenomas.


Samples of normal colonic mucosa (n = 41) and flat (n = 45) and exophytic (n = 26) adenomas were examined immunohistochemically using antibodies to cyclins D1, D2, D3, cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4, retinoblastoma protein (pRB), and the CDK inhibitors p16INK4a, p18INK4c, and p19INK4d.


In normal colonic epithelium, cyclin D2 was undetectable; expression of cyclin D1, CDK4, and pRB correlated with proliferation; and p16, p18, p19, and cyclin D3 were most abundant in quiescent, differentiated cells. Adenomas showed elevated expression of cyclin D1 and pRB, frequent induction of cyclin D2, and absence of p16. No obvious abnormalities were found for p18, p19, or cyclin D3. Overexpressed cyclin D2 was more common among exophytic and pRB among flat adenomas, respectively. Elevated cyclin D1, D2, and CDK4 correlated with enhanced dysplasia.


Aberrant expression of cyclins D1, D2, CDK4, p16, and pRB occur in significant subsets of exophytic and flat adenomas, particularly among cases with high-grade dysplasia. Such defects of the RB pathway may perturb cell-cycle control and thereby contribute an early step in colorectal tumorigenesis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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