Early alteration of cell-cycle-regulated gene expression in colorectal neoplasia

Kornelia Polyak, Stanley R. Hamilton, Bert Vogelstein, Kenneth W. Kinzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Aberrant crypt foci with dysplasia are thought to be the first detectable lesions of colorectal neoplasia. Because cell cycle disruption appears crucial for tumorigenesis, we analyzed the immunohistochemical expression patterns of the prototype cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21(WAF1/CIP1) and the proliferation marker Ki67 in the early stages of colorectal tumorigenesis. In colorectal epithelium, p21(WAF1/CIP1) expression was undetectable in the lower third of the crypts, where Ki67 was expressed, but then sharply increased as cells passed out of the proliferating zone and migrated toward the lumen. Hyperplastic polyps retained this normal compartmentalized pattern. In contrast, markedly decreased p21(WAF1/CIP1) immunostaining was observed in dysplastic aberrant crypt foci as well as in small adenomas. Moreover, the compartmentalization of Ki67 and p21(WAF1/CIP1) was lost, as Ki67 expression extended into the small p21-expressing zone at the top of the crypts. These data suggest that the dysregulated expression of cell-cycle-controlling genes and the consequent release from normal cell cycle controls may represent an essential early step in colorectal neoplasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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