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Cancer Res. 2001 Dec 1;61(23):8381-4.

Decreased expression of DNA-dependent protein kinase, a DNA repair protein, during human colon carcinogenesis.

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American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595, USA.


DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), consisting of a catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) and the Ku70 and Ku86 proteins, participates in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). We assessed its expression immunohistochemically in normal human colon tissue, colon adenomas, colon carcinomas, and normal tissue distant from carcinomas. Normal colonocytes expressed all DNA-PK proteins. Compared with the expression in normal tissue [176.62 +/- 18.56 (the intensity of expression x the percentage of cells expressing this protein), mean + SE], the expression of Ku70 was significantly reduced in adenomas (36.62 +/- 11.09; P < 0.001) and carcinomas (85.68 +/- 15.76; P < 0.01), as was the expression of Ku86 [(113.10 +/- 10.22 versus 41.66 +/- 14.71 in adenomas (P < 0.01) or versus 85.68 +/- 15.76 in carcinomas (P < 0.05)]. The expression of DNA-PKcs was not significantly changed. The marked underexpression of Ku70 and Ku86 starting at the adenoma stage may be crucial to the development of colon cancer.

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