Frequent beta-catenin nuclear labeling in sessile serrated polyps of the colorectum with neoplastic potential

Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.
American Journal of Clinical Pathology (Impact Factor: 3.01). 04/2008; 129(3):416-23. DOI: 10.1309/603UQKM7C2KELGJU
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We obtained 22 sessile serrated adenomas (SSAs) and 19 hyperplastic polyps (HPs) and performed immunolabeling for cytokeratins (CKs) 7 and 20, CDX2, beta-catenin, and p53 to determine the role of these markers in aiding distinction of lesions with neoplastic potential. Patients with SSAs more frequently had a prior or coexistent tubular adenoma (P = .004) that was right-sided (P = .00001) and larger (P = .03). No difference in CK7, CK20, or p53 labeling was found after correction for colonic location. However, CDX2 labeling was significantly lower in SSAs (P = .02) and was predominantly confined to the crypt bases, whereas it was diffusely positive in HPs (P < .001). Surprisingly, aberrant nuclear labeling for beta-catenin was found in 9 (41%) of the SSAs but in none of the HPs (P < .002). We propose that beta-catenin and/or CDX2 immunolabeling may have diagnostic usefulness in the evaluation of serrated polyps. These findings also suggest that Wnt signaling has a role in SSA development.

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    ABSTRACT: Colon cancer cells frequently carry mutations that activate the β-catenin and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades. Yet how oncogenic alterations interact to control cellular hierarchies during tumor initiation and progression is largely unknown. We found that oncogenic BRAF modulates gene expression associated with cell differentiation in colon cancer cells. We therefore engineered a mouse with an inducible oncogenic BRAF transgene, and analyzed BRAF effects on cellular hierarchies in the intestinal epithelium in vivo and in primary organotypic culture. We demonstrate that transgenic expression of oncogenic BRAF in the mouse strongly activated MAPK signal transduction, resulted in the rapid development of generalized serrated dysplasia, but unexpectedly also induced depletion of the intestinal stem cell (ISC) pool. Histological and gene expression analyses indicate that ISCs collectively converted to short-lived progenitor cells after BRAF activation. As Wnt/β-catenin signals encourage ISC identity, we asked whether β-catenin activity could counteract oncogenic BRAF. Indeed, we found that intestinal organoids could be partially protected from deleterious oncogenic BRAF effects by Wnt3a or by small-molecule inhibition of GSK3β. Similarly, transgenic expression of stabilized β-catenin in addition to oncogenic BRAF partially prevented loss of stem cells in the mouse intestine. We also used BRAF(V637E) knock-in mice to follow changes in the stem cell pool during serrated tumor progression and found ISC marker expression reduced in serrated hyperplasia forming after BRAF activation, but intensified in progressive dysplastic foci characterized by additional mutations that activate the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Our study suggests that oncogenic alterations activating the MAPK and Wnt/β-catenin pathways must be consecutively and coordinately selected to assure stem cell maintenance during colon cancer initiation and progression. Notably, loss of stem cell identity upon induction of BRAF/MAPK activity may represent a novel fail-safe mechanism protecting intestinal tissue from oncogene activation.Oncogene advance online publication, 11 August 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.247.
    Oncogene 08/2014; DOI:10.1038/onc.2014.247 · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sessile serrated adenoma/polyp (SSA/P) is considered as an early precursor in the serrated neoplasia pathway leading to colorectal cancer development. The conventional adenoma-carcinoma sequence is associated with activation of the WNT signaling pathway, although its role in serrated lesions is still controversial. To clarify differences in WNT signaling activation in association with MLH1 methylation or BRAF/KRAS mutations between serrated and conventional routes, we performed β-catenin immunostaining, methylation-specific PCR for MLH1 and WNT signaling associated genes such as AXIN2, APC, and MCC and secreted frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs), and direct sequencing of BRAF/KRAS in 27 SSA/Ps, 14 SSA/Ps with high-grade dysplasia and 9 SSA/Ps with submucosal carcinoma, as well as 19 conventional adenomas, 26 adenomas with high-grade dysplasia and 25 adenomas with submucosal carcinoma. Nuclear β-catenin labelings were significantly lower in the serrated series than in their adenoma counterparts, and a significant increment in those labelings was found from SSA/Ps to those with high-grade dysplasia or submucosal carcinoma. The frequency of MLH1 and SFRP4 methylation was significantly higher in SSA/P series, as compared with corresponding adenoma series. AXIN2 and MCC were more frequently methylated in SSA/Ps with high-grade dysplasia and those with submucosal carcinoma than in adenoma counterparts. Stepwise increment of AXIN2 and MCC methylation was identified from SSA/Ps through those with high-grade dysplasia to those with submucosal carcinoma. A significant correlation was seen between nuclear β-catenin expression and methylation of AXIN2 or MCC in the SSA/P series. BRAF mutation was more frequent, whereas KRAS mutation was less frequent in the SSA/P series as compared with the adenoma series. There was an inverse association of BRAF mutation with AXIN2 methylation in SSA/P series. In conclusion, WNT/β-catenin signal activation mediated by the methylation of SFRP4, MCC, and AXIN2 may make different contributions to colorectal neoplasia between the serrated and conventional routes.Modern Pathology advance online publication, 13 June 2014; doi:10.1038/modpathol.2014.41.
    Modern Pathology 06/2014; 28(1). DOI:10.1038/modpathol.2014.41 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sessile serrated adenomas/polyps (SSA/P) are now recognised precursors of colorectal cancer (CRC) including cancers harbouring somatic BRAF (V600E) mutations. While the morphological diagnostic criteria of SSA/P have been established, distinguishing between small/early SSA/P and microvesicular hyperplastic polyps (MVHP) is challenging and may not be possible in routine practice. METHODS: Gene expression profiling of MVHP (n=5, all BRAF V600E wild-type) and SSA/P (n=5, all BRAF V600E mutant) samples was performed. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemical analysis was performed to verify the expression of claudin 1 (CLDN1) in MVHP and SSA/P. RESULTS: Gene expression profiling studies conducted between MVHP and SSA/P identified CLDN1 as the most statistically significant differentially expressed gene (p<0.05). Validation with qRT-PCR confirmed an up-regulation of CLDN1 in BRAF V600E mutant polyps regardless of polyp type (p<0.0005). Immunohistochemical analysis of CLDN1 expression in BRAF V600E mutant SSA/Ps (n=53) and MVHPs (n=111) and BRAF wild-type MVHPs (n=58), demonstrated a strong correlation between CLDN1 expression and the BRAF V600E mutation in both SSA/P and MVHP samples when compared to wild-type polyps (p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates an up regulation of CLDN1 protein in serrated colorectal polyps including MVHP harbouring the BRAF V600E mutation. Our results demonstrated an apparent heterogeneity on the molecular level within the MVHP group and suggest that MVHP with somatic BRAF V600E mutation and up-regulated expression of CLDN1 are closely related to SSA/P and may in fact represent a continuous spectrum of the same neoplastic process within the serrated pathway of colorectal carcinogenesis.
    Translational oncology 06/2014; 7(4). DOI:10.1016/j.tranon.2014.05.009 · 3.40 Impact Factor