A comparison of the genetic pathways involved in the pathogenesis of three types of colorectal cancer.
Tomlinson I., Ilyas M., Johnson V., Davies A., Clark G., Talbot I., Bodmer W.
Patterns of allele loss (loss of heterozygosity, LOH) have been studied in order to investigate the genetic pathways involved in the pathogenesis of three types of colorectal cancer (CRC): sporadic CRC without replication errors (RER-) (32 cases); sporadic RER+ CRC (23 cases); and ulcerative colitis-associated CRC (UCACRC) (16 cases). Each tumour was assessed for allele loss at ten microsatellite markers which map close to known or putative tumour-suppressor genes: APC (5q21-q22); DCC (18q21.1); 1p35-p36; p16 (9p21); 22q; 8p; E-cadherin (16q22.1); beta-catenin (3p22-p21.3); RB1 (13q14.1-q14.2); and HLA. Overall, high frequencies of allele loss (> 30 per cent) were found near DCC (42 per cent), p16 (38 per cent), 22q (37 per cent), 1p35-p36 (34 per cent) and APC (31 per cent), and low frequencies (< 20 per cent) near RB1 (16 per cent) and E-cadherin (13 per cent). LOH near beta-catenin, HLA, and on 8p occurred at frequencies between 20 and 30 per cent. The overall frequency of allele loss did not differ among the three tumour groups, but some variation was seen at individual loci. There was a significantly higher frequency of LOH at 1p35-36 in RER+ tumours compared to RER- tumours. Allele loss at this site was also associated with a more advanced Dukes' stage at presentation. In addition, RER- tumours showed a higher frequency of allele loss at p16 than RER+ tumours. No significant difference existed at any locus between the frequency of LOH in sporadic CRC and in UCACRC. Pairwise analysis showed a negative association between LOH at APC and DCC, and between LOH at chromosome 22p and p53 overexpression. Thus, there may be specific differences between the mutation spectra of RER+ and RER- CRCs, but there are large degrees of overlap among the underlying genetic pathways of these cancers and UCACRCs.