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Histopathology. 2007 Jan;50(1):131-50.

Colorectal serrated adenocarcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks among the three most common cancers in terms of both cancer incidence and cancer-related deaths in most Western countries. Serrated adenocarcinoma is a recently described, distinct variant of CRC, accounting for about 7.5% of all CRCs and up to 17.5% of most proximal CRCs. It has been postulated that about 10-15% of sporadic CRCs would have their origin in serrated polyps that harbour a significant malignant potential. These lesions include hyperplastic-type aberrant crypt foci, hyperplastic polyps, sessile serrated adenomas, admixed polyps and serrated adenomas, and constitute the so-called 'serrated pathway', which is distinct from both the conventional adenoma-carcinoma pathway and the mutator pathway of hereditary non-polyposis CRC and is characterized by early involvement of oncogenic BRAF mutations, excess CpG island methylation (CIM) and subsequent low- or high-level DNA microsatellite instability (MSI). Methylation of hMLH1 is likely to explain the increased frequency of high-level MSI (16%) and methylation of MGMT is postulated to explain the low-level MSI (29%) in serrated adenocarcinomas. Reproducible histopathological criteria for serrated adenocarcinoma have recently been established and they have been qualified by DNA expression analysis for 7928 genes, showing clustering of serrated adenocarcinomas into a molecular entity apart from conventional adenocarcinoma, and representing with distinct down-regulation of EPHB2, PTCH and up-regulation of HIF1alpha.

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