[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1990

Alterations of Gene Expression in Human Colorectal CancerBiologic Implications

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, New England Deaconess Hospital, Boston, Mass (Drs Steele, Summerhayes, Ravikumar, and Chen), and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Drs Davis, Yow, Wong, Rivers, Ravikumar, and Chen).

Arch Surg. 1990;125(4):493-497. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1990.01410160079018

• Alterations in gene expression associated with colorectal cancer have been difficult to study because mucosal cell progenitors are not available in culture. We therefore examined specific genes in approximately 100 human colon cancer cell lines using complementary DNA probes and found profound alterations and heterogenity of gene expression in human colorectal carcinoma. Our data imply that understanding human colorectal cancer will not be accomplished by studying one or two oncogenes in a limited number of cell lines or fresh human tissue. More appropriate postulates of transformation to dictate experimental design may include the investigation of proposed three-dimensional structural changes of interface chromatin or other generalized structural relationships that could predispose to an aberrant gene expression program during transformation. Furthermore, focusing on mechanisms of initiation and defining the molecular genetic markers of gastrointestinal mucosal initiation should lead to a more focused set of genetic, rather than epigenetic, mechanisms that underlie oncogenic transformation.

(Arch Surg. 1990;125:493-497)