Expression of Smad proteins in human colorectal cancer

Int J Cancer. 1999 Jul 19;82(2):197-202. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19990719)82:2<197::aid-ijc8>;2-v.


Escape from transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta)-induced inhibition of proliferation has been observed in many tumor cells and may contribute to loss of growth control. Smad proteins have been identified as major components in the intracellular signaling of TGF-beta family members. In this study, we examined the expression of receptor-activated, common-mediator and inhibitory Smads by immunohistochemistry in human colorectal cancers. We found increased expression of receptor-activated Smads in a fraction of the tumor cells, while no immunostaining for Smad2, Smad3 or Smad5 and only occasional staining for Smad1/8 was found in epithelial mucosa of normal colon. No or only weak staining for receptor-activated Smads, common-mediator Smad4 and inhibitory Smads was observed in the tumor stroma. Common-mediator Smad4 and inhibitory Smads were detected in cells of both tumor and normal tissues. We observed a distinct pattern of Smad4 immunostaining of epithelial cells along colon crypts, with high expression in zones of terminal differentiation. Our data show selective up-regulation of receptor-activated Smad proteins in human colorectal cancers and suggest involvement of Smad4 in differentiation and apoptosis of surface epithelial cells of normal crypts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / biosynthesis
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Genes, APC
  • Genes, DCC
  • Humans
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Phosphoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Smad Proteins
  • Smad1 Protein
  • Smad2 Protein
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Smad5 Protein
  • Smad6 Protein
  • Smad7 Protein
  • Smad8 Protein
  • Trans-Activators / biosynthesis*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis


  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • SMAD1 protein, human
  • SMAD2 protein, human
  • SMAD3 protein, human
  • SMAD5 protein, human
  • SMAD6 protein, human
  • SMAD7 protein, human
  • SMAD9 protein, human
  • Smad Proteins
  • Smad1 Protein
  • Smad2 Protein
  • Smad3 Protein
  • Smad5 Protein
  • Smad6 Protein
  • Smad7 Protein
  • Smad8 Protein
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta