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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2000 Feb;27(2):202-8.

Somatic mutations of the APC, KRAS, and TP53 genes in nonpolypoid colorectal adenomas.

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Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.


Colorectal adenomas are macroscopically visible morphological changes of the mucosa that can develop focal carcinoma in the absence of surgical intervention. The successive molecular changes proposed to occur at different stages in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence were primarily based on DNA studies of exophytic, polypoid-type adenomas. Not all colorectal lesions, however, display an exophytic phenotype and a presumed distinct colorectal neoplasm, the nonpolypoid adenoma, was subsequently described as a precursor of colorectal cancer. The low incidence of KRAS mutations in nonpolypoid colorectal adenomas reported previously suggested a different genetic basis for the transformation process in these lesions. We have pursued the identification of genetic changes in benign sporadic nonpolypoid colorectal adenomas in a selected Swedish patient group with no family history of colorectal cancer. Mutation screening of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), KRAS, and TP53 genes was conducted using the protein truncation test, heteroduplex-single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis on PCR-amplified fragments. Fourteen mutations in the APC gene were characterized in 10/20 samples. Mutations in the KRAS and TP53 genes were identified in 3/57 and 4/51 adenomas, respectively. The mutation frequencies and distribution of mutations in APC correlate with published data on exophytic adenomas. The low mutation frequency of the TP53 gene is consistent with the benign nature of the research material. KRAS activation (an early event in polypoid colorectal adenomas) apparently does not play a significant role in nonpolypoid adenoma development but may result in the development of a polypoid configuration. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 27:202-208, 2000.

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