Expression of fibronectin and tenascin-C mRNA by myofibroblasts, vascular cells and epithelial cells in human colon adenomas and carcinomas

Int J Cancer. 1997 Sep 26;73(1):10-5. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19970926)73:1<10::aid-ijc2>;2-4.


To understand the mechanisms of tissue remodeling during cancer progression, it is important to know the type of cells that actively express extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Twenty-nine adenocarcinomas, 5 adenomas and non-neoplastic mucosa samples were therefore investigated to determine their fibronectin (FN) and tenascin-C (TN-C) expression using in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemical staining. In the non-neoplastic mucosa, no mRNA signals were found. Two of the adenomas demonstrated positive signals in peri-cryptal cells and the vessels. In the cancers, TN-C and FN mRNAs were found in 86% and 96% of the total cases, respectively. The signals were mainly detected in myofibroblasts, labeled with alpha-smooth muscle actin, in the cancer stroma. TN-C mRNA-positive cells were often observed in localized areas, such as in cancer stroma associated with invading edges and/or in host tissues surrounding the invading cancer front, but rarely in the center of the tumors. FN mRNA-positive cells were more widely spread throughout the cancer stroma, although they were also frequently observed at invading edges. Vascular cells in cancer tissues were also labeled. In 10 specimens, cancer cells themselves expressed FN and/or TN-C mRNA. Comparison with histo-pathological findings revealed positive relationships between the degree of mRNA expression of FN and TN-C and the depth of invasion as well as the frequency of metastasis to lymph nodes. The expression of FN and TN-C by myofibroblasts, vascular cells and cancer cells could be important for the remodeling process of neoplastic tissues during cancer development and progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Fibronectins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Tenascin / genetics*


  • Fibronectins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tenascin