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Oncology. 2003;65(1):37-45.

Increased expression of RelA/nuclear factor-kappa B protein correlates with colorectal tumorigenesis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Renmin Hospital, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.



To identify the role of RelA/nuclear factor-kappa B, an important inhibitor of apoptosis in colorectal tumorigenesis, we examined the expression of RelA in normal colorectal mucosa (n = 10), colorectal adenomas (n = 30) and colorectal adenocarcinomas (n = 30). Furthermore, the association of RelA expression with tumor cell apoptosis, proliferation, and expression of Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L )was also studied.


Paraffin sections were stained with monoclonal antibodies directed against RelA, Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), and Ki-67 to assess protein expression patterns in normal, adenomatous and colon cancer tissue. Apoptotic cells were detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) using an in situ detection kit.


The results of immunohistochemical staining revealed that expression of RelA, Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), and Ki-67 labeling index (LI) significantly increased in the transition from adenoma with low dysplasia to adenocarcinoma. This transition was associated with a significant decrease in the apoptotic index (AI) and a significant increase in the Ki-67 LI. The expression of RelA correlated inversely with the AI and correlated positively with the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), and Ki-67 LI in the transition from low-grade dysplasia to adenocarcinoma.


Our results suggest that increased expression of RelA/nuclear factor-kappa B plays an important role in the transition from colorectal adenoma with low-grade dysplasia to adenocarcinoma in the pathogenesis of colon cancer in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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