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Cancer Res. 1986 Nov;46(11):5976-84.

Cancer-associated alterations of blood group antigen expression in human colorectal polyps.


Human colorectal carcinoma tissues may exhibit several patterns of altered blood group substance (BGS) expression: reappearance of A, B, H, or Lewisb antigens in distal colon; deletion of BGS in the proximal colon with or without precursor substance accumulation; and incompatible BGS expression in proximal or distal colon. The present study evaluated these cancer-associated alterations in colorectal polyps with different malignant potential. With respect to ABH antigens, hyperplastic polyps (HPs), considered to have no malignant potential, did not exhibit incompatibility and only a few cases demonstrated BGS reappearance or deletion. Adenomatous polyps (APs) however, frequently reexpressed ABH antigens or expressed incompatible BG-A or B in 27% of polyps; one specimen demonstrated BG-B deletion. Precursor expression was not found in HPs but was frequently observed in APs. Reappearance of ABH in distal polyps was significantly correlated with increasing grade of dysplasia, but was not significantly correlated with polyp size or histological type. With respect to Lewis antigen expression, Lewisb reappearance occurred in almost every distal polyp, and Lewisa-Lewisb coexpression was also quite common. Lea deletion was frequently noted, especially in HP, but the significance of this finding is unclear. This study indicates that several antigenic alterations that occur in colorectal cancer tissues also appear in premalignant polyps, and often in early stages of the neoplastic process. The observation that incompatible expression of BG-A or B occurs only in AP and cancer tissues (as well as mucosa adjacent to cancer) but not in fetal colonic mucosa, adult normal colonic mucosa, or HP, suggests that this may be a cancer-specific phenomenon.

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