Journal Article

Low O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase activity in normal colorectal tissue is associated with colorectal tumours containing a GC-->AT transition in the K-ras oncogene.

P E Jackson, C N Hall, P J O'Connor, D P Cooper, G P Margison and A C Povey

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 18, issue 7, pages 1299-1302
Published in print July 1997 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online July 1997 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/18.7.1299
Low O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase activity in normal colorectal tissue is associated with colorectal tumours containing a GC-->AT transition in the K-ras oncogene.

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O6-alkylguanine DNA-alkyltransferase (ATase) provides protection against the toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of alkylating agents, principally by removing the promutagenic lesion O6-alkylguanine from DNA. Differences in ATase activity in human tissue may thus determine mutational susceptibility. As GC-->AT transitions, which can be induced by O6-alkylguanine in DNA, are commonly observed in the K-ras oncogene of alkylating agent induced animal tumours and in human colorectal tumours, we have examined whether differences in ATase activity may affect the risk of K-ras mutations in humans with colorectal tumours. NTase activity in normal tissue from individuals with a K-ras mutation in colorectal tissue and more specifically a GC-->AT transition (but not a transversion mutation) was significantly lower than that in individuals without a mutation (P < 0.01). Thus, individuals with low ATase activity in normal tissue (i.e. below the median) were at increased risk of having a transition (OR 10.1; 95% CI 1.9-99.0), but not a transversion mutation (OR 1.7; 95% CI 0.3-12.2). There were no significant differences in tumour ATase activity in individuals with or without a mutation. These results suggest that ATase can protect colorectal tissue against the mutagenic effects of alkylating agents and furthermore, that alkylating agent exposure plays a role in the aetiology of colorectal tumours containing a GC-->AT transition in the K-ras oncogene.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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