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World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2012 Dec 15;4(12):250-8. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v4.i12.250.

Aberrant crypt focus and fragile histidine triad protein in sporadic colorectal carcinoma.

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  • 1Kim Vaiphei, Aruna Rangan, Department of Histopathology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Pin 160012, India.



To characterize aberrant crypt focus (ACF) in adjoining mucosa in sporadic colorectal carcinoma and to evaluate fragile histidine triad (Fhit) protein and Ki67.


ACF was identified grossly and classified histologically in 75 resected specimens. ACF was typed into hyperplastic ACF (HACF) and dysplastic ACF (DACF). Sections of ACF, carcinoma and normal colonic mucosa as control were studied for Fhit and Ki67 expressions by immunohistochemistry and were grouped according to staining intensity and the number of positive stained cells observed in different histological groups. Comparison was done between the different groups by Pearson's χ(2) test and γ test for the ordinal data. P value < 0.05 was considered as significant.


Age range was 40 to 86 years in males (mean = 43.36) and 45 to 70 years in females (mean = 56). HACF was identified in all cases studied in the non-tumorous colonic mucosa; ACF was observed as non-contiguous scattered foci, which supports the hypothesis of acquisition of single focus monoclonality by colonic epithelial cells in tumor generation. Twenty-four (32%) had DACF and were observed as closure to carcinoma foci. Intensity of Fhit expression: (1) HACF - 40% exhibited strong intensity, similar to normal, moderate in 36% and weak in 24%; (2) DACF - strong in 25%, moderate in 37.5% and weak in 37.5%; and (3) carcinoma - negative in 16%, strong in 43% and moderate and weak in 28.5% each. Significant difference was observed in intensity of the Fhit protein expressions by HACF and DACF (P < 0.05). Tumor in older patients showed a stronger Fhit intensity compared to younger patients (P = 0.036). Vegetarian diet intake and non-smokers showed stronger Fhit intensities. Advanced stage tumor, non-vegetarian diet and younger age was associated with loss of Fhit protein. Ki67 positivity was an extended crypt pattern in HACF and DACF showed extension up to the neck region of the crypts and surface epithelium. Carcinomas showed a marked increase in Ki67 expression (P < 0.05). Fhit protein had an inverse association with Ki67 expression.


Weaker Fhit intensity was associated with smoking, non-vegetarian diet intake and increasing Ki67 expression. Loss of Fhit protein expression is possibly influenced by environmental factors like smoking and non-vegetarian diet intake.


Aberrant crypt focus; Carcinogenesis, Colorectal carcinoma; Dysplasia; Fragile histidine triad protein; Ki67

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