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Surgeon. 2004 Oct;2(5):251-7.

The role of gastrin in colorectal carcinogenesis.

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Academic Unit of Cancer Studies, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.


Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-associated death in the United States and United Kingdom. In England and Wales, it is the second most common cancer in women and the third most common in men. Currently, treatment options for this debilitating disease are limited and surgical resection is the only curative treatment available. Despite rapid advances in surgery, as well as in adjuvant therapies such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, there has been only a relatively modest improvement in mortality. The majority of colorectal cancers are epithelial-derived adenocarcinomas and arise from benign adenomas through the gain of mutations in key genes. Gastrin, an important polypeptide hormone, responsible for gastric acid secretion has been found to be involved in tumourigenesis in the gastrointestinal tract. When aberrantly expressed, the gastrin and gastrin/CCK-2 receptor genes can mediate powerful down stream events; the gastrin gene can impart anti-apoptotic properties while the gastrin/CCK-2 receptor can activate the transcription of a number of factors including ligands of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor, the REG protein and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). In colonic tumourigenesis, gene expression of both gastrin and the gastrin/CCK-2 receptor is activated within epithelial cells at an early stage of the adenoma-carcinoma sequence. This review details the role played by gastrin in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence of colorectal carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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