We studied the expression of chromogranin A (CgA) in human gastric (n = 17) and colorectal (n = 18) adenocarcinomas by nucleic acid hybridization and immunohistochemical analyses using a specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) to human chromogranin A (CgA). Some corresponding adjacent nonmalignant mucosal tissues were also examined. Results: (I) Northern blotting: of 3 normal gastric mucosas examined, 2 (67%) had an easily detected signal for expression of CgA. Only one of 14 gastric carcinomas (7%) and one of 18 colorectal carcinomas (6%) had easily detected RNA signals. (2) Immunohistochemical staining: all non‐malignant samples of gastric and colonic mucosa contained CgA‐positive neuroendocrine (NE) cells. Two of 17 (12%) gastric adenocarcinomas, and 3 of 18 (17%) of colorectal adenocarcinomas contained CgA‐positive tumor cells. Interestingly, the positive cases detected by immunohistochemistry included both cases detected by Northern blotting. Of the 5 cases detected by immunohistochemistry, 2 gastric cancers and I rectal carcinoma contained many diffusely scattered positive cells, occurring singly or in small clusters, while 2 colorectal carcinomas contained only occasional single CgA‐positive tumor cells. In one of the positive gastric cases, a well‐differentiated adenocarcinoma arising in a tubular adenoma, both the adenomatous and the carcinomatous elements contained positively staining cells. Our specific assays for CgA indicate that (I) a NE cell component, either diffusely scattered or occasional, occurs in about 15% of gastric and colorectal tumors; (2) there is no correlation between the presence of NE cells and degree of tumor differentiation; and (3) because only a minority of the tumor cells in positive cases stain for CgA, immunohistochemistry is a more sensitive method than Northern blotting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research