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Clin Cancer Res. 1995 Feb;1(2):147-54.

Overexpression and amplification of the met/HGF receptor gene during the progression of colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Science and Oncology, University of Torino Medical School, Torino, Institute of Histology, University of Sassari Medical School, Sassari, Italy.


The c-met oncogene encodes the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor, a potent mitogen for epithelial cells that also promotes cell motility and invasiveness. We have studied the changes of c-met gene expression that occur during the progression of colorectal tumors. Sixteen adenomas, 123 primitive carcinomas, and 25 liver metastases were examined. In several instances it was possible to compare same-patient samples of normal colon mucosa against primary tumor and primary carcinoma against synchronous metastasis. The expression of the c-met gene was increased from 5- to 50-fold in about 50% of tumors, at any stage of progression, and in 70% of liver metastases. Overexpression was associated with amplification of the c-met gene in only 10% of carcinomas, but in 8 of 9 metastases examined. These data suggest that overexpression of the c-met oncogene contributes a selective growth advantage to neoplastic colorectal cells at any stage of tumor progression. Moreover, amplification appears to give a further selective advantage for the acquisition of metastatic potential.

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