Urokinase-type plasminogen activator is expressed in stromal cells and its receptor in cancer cells at invasive foci in human colon adenocarcinomas

Am J Pathol. 1991 May;138(5):1059-67.


In this study in situ hybridization methods were used to examine biopsy samples from 13 adenocarcinomas of the colon for the presence of mRNA for the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) and its specific cell-surface receptor (u-PAR). In all cases, u-PA mRNA was present in fibroblastlike cells in the stroma adjacent to the invasive tumor nodules. Urokinase-type plasminogen activator mRNA was not detected in the malignant cells. All specimens also contained u-PAR mRNA in cells located at the tumoral-stromal interface of invasive foci, but in contrast at least some of these cells were in all but one case identified as being of malignant origin. Stromal cells, probably tumor-infiltrating macrophages and neutrophils, also were positive in these areas. These results support the view that components of the plasminogen activation system may act to influence proteolytic events occurring at the interface between stroma and malignant cells in adenocarcinomas of the colon in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / ultrastructure*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Endoderm / metabolism
  • Endoderm / pathology
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Plasminogen Activators / genetics
  • Plasminogen Activators / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / genetics
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / metabolism*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • PLAUR protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Plasminogen Activators
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator