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Cancer Res. 2001 Dec 1;61(23):8408-11.

Computer modeling implicates stem cell overproduction in colon cancer initiation.

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  • 1Division of Genetic and Preventive Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


On the basis of our investigation of the premalignant crypt phenotype in familial adenomatous polyposis patients, the hypothesis is developed that tumor initiation in the colon is caused by crypt stem cell overproduction. A novel kinetic model for the colonic crypt was used to investigate how the earliest tissue abnormality (altered crypt labeling index) arises in these patients who have a mutant APC genotype. Only an increase in crypt stem cell number, not changes in the rate of cell cycle proliferation, differentiation, or apoptosis of the non-stem cell population, simulated this abnormality. This suggests that APC regulates the number of stem cells in the colonic crypt and when the cells become mutant, an expansion of the crypt stem cell population results.

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