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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Dec 11;104(50):19977-82. Epub 2007 Dec 6.

Mast cells are an essential hematopoietic component for polyp development.

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Division of Comparative Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


It is generally agreed that most colon cancers develop from adenomatous polyps, and it is this fact on which screening strategies are based. Although there is overwhelming evidence to link intrinsic genetic lesions with the formation of these preneoplastic lesions, recent data suggest that the tumor stromal environment also plays an essential role in this disease. In particular, it has been suggested that CD34(+) immature myeloid precursor cells are required for tumor development and invasion. Here we have used mice conditional for the stabilization of beta-catenin or defective for the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene to reinvestigated the identity and importance of tumor-infiltrating hematopoietic cells in polyposis. We show that, from the onset, polyps are infiltrated with proinflammatory mast cells (MC) and their precursors. Depletion of MC either pharmacologically or through the generation of chimeric mice with genetic lesions in MC development leads to a profound remission of existing polyps. Our data suggest that MC are an essential hematopoietic component for preneoplastic polyp development and are a novel target for therapeutic intervention.

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