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Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 1;122(1):117-23.

K-ras mutations and mucin profile in preneoplastic lesions and colon tumors induced in rats by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.


K-ras and mucin profile variations, associated with intestinal carcinogenesis, were studied in the preneoplastic lesions, mucin-depleted foci (MDF) and aberrant crypt foci (ACF), and in colonic tumors induced in rats by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH). The frequency of lesions with K-ras mutations was 23% (3/13), 5.5% (1/18) and 100% (14/14) in MDF, tumors and ACF, respectively. Two of three MDF mutated in K-ras also carried a missense mutation in Apc. We also tested the expression of MUC2, a mucin abundantly expressed in normal colon and M1/MUCA5C, up-regulated in colon carcinogenesis, using immunohistochemistry. MDF and tumors showed a dramatic reduction in the expression of MUC2, whereas ACF showed only a slight reduction. The expression of M1/MUC5AC was almost absent in normal mucosa, but was increased in all the lesions (MDF, tumors and ACF). The expression of the intestinal trefoil factor (ITF), a marker of goblet cell lineage, was reduced in MDF and tumors compared to normal mucosa but not in ACF. In conclusion, although K-ras mutations are present in all ACF, they are less frequent in MDF and tumors; M1/MUC5AC is a marker associated with all preneoplastic events while the reduction of MUC2 and ITF expression is selectively associated with more advanced lesions such as MDF and tumors.

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