Serrated carcinomas form a subclass of colorectal cancer with distinct molecular basis

Oncogene. 2007 Jan 11;26(2):312-20. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209778. Epub 2006 Jul 3.


Serrated colorectal carcinomas (CRCs) are morphologically different from conventional CRCs and have been proposed to follow a distinct pathway of CRC formation. Despite studies of single molecular events in this tumor type, the diagnosis of serrated CRC relies on morphology and the putative unique biological character of these tumors has not been established. Here we show that the gene expression profiling of 37 CRCs separated serrated and conventional CRCs into two distinct branches in unsupervised hierarchical clustering (P-value 7.8 x 10(-7)), and revealed 201 differentially expressed genes representing potential biomarkers for serrated CRC. Immunohistochemistry was utilized to verify the key findings in the 37 CRCs examined by expression profiling, and a separate validation set of 37 serrated and 86 conventional CRCs was examined to evaluate the candidate biomarkers in an extended sample material. Ephrin receptor B2, hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha and patched appeared as proteins important for genesis of serrated CRC. This study establishes serrated CRCs as a biologically distinct subclass of CRC and represents a step forward in the molecular classification of these cancers. The study also provides a platform to understand the molecular basis of serrated CRC and in long term may contribute to the development of specific treatment options for this tumor type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / metabolism
  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm