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Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Sep;50(9):1741-6.

Expression of cytokeratins 7 and 20 in serrated adenoma and related diseases.

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Department of Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine Graduate School of Medical Science, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Japan.


The entity of serrated adenoma of the colorectum was first proposed in 1990, and it was characterized as epithelial neoplasia combining the architectural features of a hyperplastic polyp with the cytological features of an adenoma. Over the past few years, various clinicopathological studies on serrated adenoma have been reported, but its histogenesis remains unclear. Recently the existence of a "serrated neoplasia pathway" leading to malignancy, which is different from the so-called adenoma-carcinoma sequence, has been discussed. Yao et al. reported that hyperplastic polyps and serrated adenomas share a common cell lineage with gastric differentiation. To clarify the existence of the serrated neoplasia pathway, we performed immunohistochemical staining of cytokeratin 7 (CK7) and cytokeratin 20 (CK20), which are commonly used to determine the primary site of a metastatic lesion, and we examined the pattern of CK7/CK20 expression in various colorectal lesions including 44 serrated adenomas, 25 hyperplastic polyps, 20 traditional adenomas, and 48 carcinomas. An obvious difference existed in the pattern of CK7/CK20 expression between the serrated lesions (hyperplastic polyps and serrated adenomas) and others. The majority of serrated adenomas and hyperplastic polyps presented a CK7+/CK20+ pattern, whereas most conventional adenomas and adenocarcinomas expressed CK7-/CK20+. Adenocarcinoma developing in serrated adenoma also presented a CK7+/CK20+ pattern. There are several reports that CK7 is a possible marker of transient dedifferentiation in the gastric carcinogenesis process. Taken together with the present results, a distinct pathway of colorectal carcinogenesis must exist, which is different from the adenoma-carcinoma sequence. CK7 is a possible marker for the serrated neoplasia pathway of colorectal carcinogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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