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Cancer. 1993 Dec 1;72(11):3185-90.

Localization of tumor-associated glycoprotein DF3 in normal, inflammatory, and neoplastic lesions of the colon.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215.



The expression of DF3 was assessed by a monoclonal antibody in normal, inflammatory, and neoplastic conditions in the large bowel.


Using immunohistochemistry, expression was examined in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy and resection samples of 19 normal colonic mucosal specimens, 49 inflammatory lesions, 34 adenomas, and 38 primary colonic adenocarcinomas. In addition, Western blots of normal colonic mucosa and adenocarcinoma were examined.


DF3 expression was detected in 84% of the adenocarcinomas with coarse membrane staining, intense positivity of luminal secretions, and focal cytoplasmic and intracytoplasmic vacuole staining. Nine of 32 areas of transitional mucosa revealed reactivity along apical membranes in crypt cells. Five adenomas containing carcinoma revealed DF3 positivity in the malignant areas only, whereas the remaining 29 were negative. Staining was membrane, luminal, and intracytoplasmic. Two examples of active ulcerative colitis revealed focal reactivity along the apical membrane of crypt cells. No other areas of staining were noted, including 12 cases containing dysplasia. Four of 10 other inflammatory lesions also revealed similar membrane reactivity in crypt cells. Normal colonic mucosa was nonreactive. Examples of normal colonic mucosa were negative for DF3 by Western blot analysis, whereas two carcinoma samples that reacted immunohistochemically were positive.


DF3 is not detectable in normal colonic tissues. It is expressed focally and predominantly along the apical membrane of crypt cells in some inflammatory lesions and in the transitional mucosa of primary adenocarcinomas. Most adenocarcinomas of the colon and adenomas with foci of invasive carcinoma demonstrate reactivity in the cytoplasm and luminal secretions.

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