Genetic analysis of multiple synchronous lesions of the colon adenoma-carcinoma sequence

Br J Cancer. 2000 Apr;82(7):1276-82. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.1999.1091.


The colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence represents a well-known paradigm for the sequential development of cancer driven by the accumulation of genomic defects. Although the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence is well investigated, studies about tumours of different dignity co-existent in the same patient are seldom. In order to address the distribution of genetic alterations in different lesions of the same patient, we coincidently investigated carcinomas, adenomas and aberrant crypt foci in patients with sporadic colon cancer. By utilizing polymerase chain reaction, single-strand conformation polymorphism, heteroduplex-analysis, restriction fragment length polymorphism, protein truncation test and sequencing techniques we looked for mutations and microsatellite instability of APC, H-ras, K-ras, p53, DCC and the DNA repair genes hMLH1/hMSH2. In accordance with the suggested adenoma-carcinoma sequence of the colon, four patients reflected the progressive accumulation of genetic defects in synchronously appearing tumours during carcinogenesis. However, two patients with non-hereditary malignomas presented different genetic instabilities in different but synchronously appearing tumours suggesting non-clonal growth under almost identical conditions of the environment. Thus, sporadically manifesting multiple lesions of the colon were not necessarily driven by similar genetic mechanisms. Premalignant lesions may transform into malignant tumours starting from different types of genetic instability, which indicates independent and simultaneous tumorigenesis within the same organ.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenoma / etiology
  • Adenoma / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / genetics*
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics*