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Ann Surg Oncol. 2008 May;15(5):1429-39. doi: 10.1245/s10434-007-9757-1. Epub 2008 Feb 27.

Two subtypes of mucinous adenocarcinoma of the colorectum: clinicopathological and genetic features.

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Department of Surgical Sciences, Section of General Surgical Clinics and Surgical Therapy, Parma University, Medical School, Parma, Italy.



This work is aimed at comparing mucinous colorectal adenocarcinomas (MUC) and non-mucinous colorectal adenocarcinomas (non-MUC), and at verifying the existence of two different subgroups of MUC, in terms of clinicopathological features, chromosomal alterations, and outcome, in a geographical area where mucinous colorectal cancer resulted as being very frequent.


One hundred and fifty-six unselected patients who underwent curative colorectal resection for sporadic colorectal cancer over a 4-year period were evaluated for histological classification as to MUC and non-MUC subtype, for microsatellite instability (MSI) using six microsatellite markers, and for the presence of p27, Fhit, and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2). Molecular data, immunohistochemical results, recurrence frequency, and patient survival were analyzed statistically in relation to histological subtypes.


MUC accounted for 38.5% of all colorectal carcinomas. Compared to non-MUCs, MUCs were more frequently located in the proximal colon (p < 0.001), and more frequently showed MSI phenotype (p < 0.001), altered protein expression of hMlh1 (p = 0.030), Fhit (p <0.001), and p27 (p < 0.001). Compared to MUC with microsatellite-stable (MSS) phenotype, MUC with MSI more frequently resulted as being located in the proximal colon (p = 0.013), and more frequently showed altered expression of hMlh1 (p < 0.001), hMsh2 (p = 0.008), Fhit (p < 0.001), and p27 (p = 0.015). Significantly better survival of patients with proximal MUC (p = 0,012), with MSI MUC (p = 0.017), and with MUC with altered p27 expression (p = 0.02).


The results of the present study confirm that MUC represents distinct clinicopathological and genetic features as compared to non-mucinous tumors and support the hypothesis that MUC includes two subtypes with different genetic pathways and behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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