Indexed on: 06 Jul '01Published on: 06 Jul '01Published in: The Journal of Pathology
Loss of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted from chromosome 10) function has been implicated in the progression of several types of cancer. Allele loss close to the PTEN locus occurs in sporadic colon cancer and germline PTEN mutations cause Cowden disease, an inherited cancer syndrome characterized by an increased incidence of gastrointestinal tract lesions that can progress to colorectal carcinoma. However, although PTEN is a good candidate for involvement in the pathogenesis of sporadic colon cancer, previous analyses have not revealed a high frequency of somatic mutations in colorectal tumours. Alternative mechanisms which could lead to a loss of PTEN expression in colon cancer have not been investigated. This study monitored PTEN mRNA and protein levels in a panel of 50 tumour tissues obtained from 35 patients with sporadic colon cancer. RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry were used to evaluate the expression of mRNA and protein, respectively, in normal, adenoma and adenocarcinoma colorectal tissues as well as in metastatic lesions. To overcome the problem of heterogeneity and normal stromal cell contamination in homogenized tissue specimens, specific cell types were isolated by microdissection prior to PCR analysis. No loss of PTEN expression was evident in any of the colon tissues examined. PTEN protein was localized exclusively in the cytoplasm of normal and tumour cells and no correlation of immunostaining intensity and tumour stage or grade was revealed. As with previous deletion and mutation analyses, the present study suggests that loss of PTEN expression is not prevalent in sporadic colon cancer.