Serrated adenomas of the colon are characterized by epithelial neoplasia combining the architectural features of hyperplastic polyps and the cytological features of adenomas. Cell turnover, which is related to the malignant potential of these polyps, has not been thoroughly investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate epithelial cell proliferation, apoptosis, and oncoprotein expression in serrated adenomas. Twenty-five hyperplastic polyps, 25 serrated adenomas, and 25 tubulovillous adenomas resected from the colons of 75 patients were studied by immunohistochemical staining using monoclonal antibodies against MIB-1, Bcl-2, Bax, p53, and the TUNEL method for the detection of apoptosis. In serrated adenomas, the proliferation rate was significantly lower than in tubulovillous adenomas in both the lower and the upper parts of the crypts, and higher than that of hyperplastic polyps. Apoptosis was also significantly lower in serrated than in tubulovillous adenomas, but higher than in hyperplastic polyps. p53 oncoprotein expression was significantly greater in both serrated and tubulovillous adenomas than in hyperplastic polyps. bcl-2 protein expression was higher only in tubulovillous adenomas. Bax index was significantly different between tubullovillous and serrated adenomas, but the lowest values were observed in hyperplastic polyps. Serrated adenomas are highly proliferative polyps. They should be considered a biologically different entity from hyperplastic polyps. The intermediate features between serrated adenomas, hyperplastic polyps, and tubulovillous adenomas using the antibodies analysed in this study could have implications for the rate or the mechanism of development of malignancy in this type of polyp.
2005 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland