The aim of this study was to investigate the clinicopathological characteristics of colorectal serrated lesions associated with invasive carcinoma and high-grade intraepithelial neoplasm (HIN), as well as to determine the immunohistochemical expression of MutL homolog 1 (MLH1), MutS homolog 2 (MSH2), K-ras and O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT). A total of 5,347 cases diagnosed with colorectal polyp or adenoma were included in this study from October 2002 to September 2009. A total of 16 cases of colorectal serrated lesions associated with invasive carcinoma/HIN were screened. These comprised seven cases of traditional serrated adenoma (TSA) associated with invasive carcinoma and HIN, six cases of sessile serrated adenoma (SSA) associated with invasive carcinoma/HIN and three cases of hyperplastic polyp (HP) associated with invasive carcinoma/HIN. TSA associated with invasive carcinoma/HIN predominantly occurred in the rectum with a clearly serrated structure and ectopic crypts. High-grade dysplasia was observed in filiform TSA, which was more prone to carcinogenesis. SSA associated with invasive carcinoma/HIN mainly occurred in the ileocecal junction, with the SSA serrated glands closely located adjacent to the muscularis mucosa and the basal crypt expanded with inverted T- or L-shaped branches. HPs were observed in three cases in the cancer-adjacent tissues with invasive carcinoma, while a HP-SSA/TSA-carcinoma sequence was found in two cases. Immunohistochemistry showed that MGMT expression was significantly different in the serrated lesion tissues compared with that in cancer tissues (P=0.022), control cancer tissues (P=0.002) and normal colorectal epithelial tissues (P=0.003). TSA and SSA may progress to cancer or directly develop into invasive adenocarcinoma. Filiform TSA easily develops into HIN, followed by infiltration. HP may arise from the cancer-adjacent tissues of the invasive carcinoma, which are closely adjacent to the cancer tissues. Further research is needed to investigate the potential direct involvement of HP in carcinogenesis.
Keywords: colorectal serrated lesion; immunohistochemistry; intraepithelial neoplasm; invasive adenocarcinoma.