Gastric and duodenal polyps in Smad4 (Dpc4) knockout mice

Cancer Res. 1999 Dec 15;59(24):6113-7.


The SMAD4 (DPC4) gene was initially isolated as a candidate tumor suppressor from the convergent site of homozygous deletions on 18q in a panel of pancreatic carcinoma cell lines. It encodes a common cytoplasmic signaling molecule shared by the transforming growth factor-beta, activin, and bone morphogenic pathways. We recently inactivated its mouse homologue Smad4 and demonstrated its role in the malignant progression of benign adenomas to invasive adenocarcinomas by analyzing mice with Apc and Smad4 compound mutations. Although simple Smad4 homozygotes were embryonically lethal, the heterozygotes were fertile and appeared normal up to the age of 1 year. Upon further investigation, however, they have developed inflammatory polyps in the glandular stomach and duodenum. By PCR genotyping and immunohistochemical staining, the wild-type Smad4 allele has been lost in the polyp epithelial cells, ie., loss of heterozygosity. On the other hand, we have not found any mutations in such genes as K-Ras, H-Ras, N-Ras, p53, or PTEN. Histologically, the polyps are similar to human juvenile polyps showing moderate stromal cell proliferation and infiltrations by eosinophils and plasma cells. In addition, foci of adenocarcinoma with signet ring cells are also found. These results are consistent with a recent report that germ-line SMAD4 mutations are found in a subset of familial juvenile polyposis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / deficiency
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Duodenal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Duodenal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Polyps / genetics*
  • Intestinal Polyps / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Polyps / genetics*
  • Polyps / pathology
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Trans-Activators / deficiency
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • SMAD4 protein, human
  • Smad4 Protein
  • Smad4 protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators