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Cancer Res. 1991 Jan 1;51(1):387-93.

Increased content of an endogenous lactose-binding lectin in human colorectal carcinoma progressed to metastatic stages.

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Department of Tumor Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


The quantity and localization of two lactose-binding lectins with molecular weights of 31,000 and 14,500 in human colorectal carcinoma tissue specimens obtained by surgical resection have been studied using specific polyclonal antibodies. Electrophoretic separation and blotting of detergent extracts of tumor tissues (48 specimens), followed by the binding of an antibody that recognizes both of these lectins, demonstrated that the contents of Mr 31,000 and 14,500 lectins vary from one specimen to another. The Mr 31,000 lectin content was higher in tumor specimens classified as Dukes' stage D than in those from other stages. A significant correlation was found between Mr 31,000 lectin levels and the levels of carcinoembryonic antigen in the patients' sera at the time of surgery. Immunohistochemical staining with antibodies specific for each lectin was performed with 20 colon carcinoma tissues and 5 colonic adenoma tissues. The results showed that the Mr 31,000 lectin localizes in the cytoplasm of colorectal carcinoma cells and normal epithelial cells, whereas antibody binding to Mr 14,500 lectin is observed in a limited number of carcinoma specimens and is mainly associated with luminal surfaces and secretory products. Adenoma cells were reactive with Mr 14,500 anti-lectin antibody at their luminal surfaces or cytoplasms, but they did not stain with Mr 31,000 anti-lectin antibody. These results suggest that a correlation exists among the level of the Mr 31,000 lectin, the serum level of carcinoembryonic antigen, and the stage of progression of colorectal carcinomas.

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