Background/aims: The MUC1 mucin distributes among a variety of epithelial tissues (except the intestinal epithelia) and is often detectable in colorectal carcinoma tissues and cell lines. This study aimed to elucidate whether MUC1 mucin expression correlated to the progression of colorectal carcinomas.
Methods: We collected 113 tissue specimens, including primary colorectal carcinoma, normal mucosa, liver metastases, lymph node metastases, and normal livers from 58 patients with colorectal carcinoma. Immunohistochemical staining and Western blotting analysis with mature MUC1 mucin-specific monoclonal antibodies were performed.
Results: The levels of mature MUC1 mucins were significantly higher in carcinoma tissues than those in normal colonic mucosa (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the levels of mature MUC1 mucins were significantly higher in primary tumors from patients having metastasis or metastatic tumors than in primary tumors from patients without metastasis (P < 0.001). In the primary sites, mature MUC1 mucin levels apparently increased according to progression of the stages (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: These results strongly suggest that mature MUC1 mucins become ectopically expressed in colorectal carcinoma progressed to the metastatic stages and that mature MUC1 mucins may be a useful marker for advanced colorectal carcinoma.