Journal Article

The initiation of colon cancer in a chronic inflammatory setting

Ru Chen, Peter S. Rabinovitch, David A. Crispin, Mary J. Emond, Mary P. Bronner and Teresa A. Brentnall

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 26, issue 9, pages 1513-1519
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
The initiation of colon cancer in a chronic inflammatory setting

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Chronic inflammation predisposes to cancer. We used an inflammation-induced human model of tumorigenesis to explore how populations of mutated cells expand and initiate the earliest stages of cancer. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer mediated through a process of genomic instability. In order to characterize the process of clonal expansion, arbitrary primed (AR) and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) PCR DNA fingerprint mutation profiles of single crypts were compared with the mutational profiles from clusters of crypts and whole biopsies within the same individual. To provide information at the earliest steps of neoplastic progression, we examined histologically negative crypts, as well as dysplastic crypts. Crypts from UC dysplasia/cancer show alterations in 10–20% of DNA fingerprint sites, regardless of (i) whether the crypts were dysplastic or non-dysplastic and (ii) whether the DNA came from one crypt or thousands of crypts. Of the mutational changes in single crypts, almost half are clonally expanded to adjacent crypts and/or to the thousands of crypts in a single biopsy. Using fluorescent in-situ hybridization to examine p53 alterations in individual crypt cells, we demonstrate that the mechanism of clonal expansion can occur through crypt fission. DNA alterations are initiated in colonic crypts and expand to adjacent crypts through crypt fission. Our data suggest that a continuous process of DNA mutations, clonal expansion through crypt fission and clonal succession initiates the development of inflammatory-associated colon cancer; this mutational process is moderated by crypt cell turn-over and cell death. This paradigm may apply to other inflammatory-induced cancers.

Keywords: AP–PCR, arbitrarily primed PCR; FISH, fluorescence in situ hybridization; ISSR–PCR, inter-simple-sequence-repeat PCR; LOH (loss of heterozygosity); SSR, simple-sequence-repeat; UC, ulcerative colitis.

Journal Article.  6023 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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