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Clin Cancer Res. 2001 Oct;7(10):3106-12.

Reduced expression of focal adhesion kinase in liver metastases compared with matched primary human colorectal adenocarcinomas.

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Department of Tumor Biochemistry, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, 1-3-3 Nakamichi, Higashinari-ku, Osaka 537-8511, Japan.


The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is implicated in integrin-mediated signal transduction pathways used in cell adhesion, cell motility, apoptosis, and anchorage-independent growth. Because cancer invasion and metastasis are thought to be associated with alterations in cellular adhesive and motile properties, we studied the expression of four focal adhesion proteins including FAK in matched samples of human normal colorectal mucosa (N), primary colorectal adenocarcinomas (T) and liver metastases (M) from 10 patients by Western blot analysis. This gave us the advantage of directly comparing levels of focal adhesion protein expression within the same genetic background. Average FAK expression level was significantly higher in T than in N and it was significantly lower in M than in T. Average paxillin expression level was also significantly higher in T than in N, but it was not significantly different between T and M. Similar results were obtained by immunohistochemical analyses of FAK and paxillin expression. Average vinculin and talin expression levels showed no significant differences among these three samples (N, T, and M). These data demonstrate that the FAK expression level increases in primary tumors compared with normal mucosa and decreases in liver metastases to the level of normal mucosa in the majority of human colorectal adenocarcinomas. Up- and down-regulation of FAK protein expression observed in this study may have a profound effect on the signal transduction.

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