Multistep carcinogenesis in colorectal cancers.Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1995; 26 Suppl 1:190-6.SA
Recent advances in molecular genetics have revealed that multiple genetic alterations including activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes are required for tumor development and progression. Tumorigenesis of colorectal cancer, in which most cancers are considered to arise from preceding benign adenomas, has been well documented at the molecular level. Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), which is characterized by the development of hundreds to thousands of adenomatous polyps in the colon and rectum, one or more of which can progress to cancer if left without surgical treatment, is a good model for elucidation of genetic alterations involved in colorectal tumorigenesis. The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene responsible for FAP was isolated in 1991, and germinal and somatic mutations of the APC gene have been identified. Moreover, activation of K-ras oncogene and inactivation of several tumor suppressor genes such as MCC, p53, and DCC are supposed to play important roles at specific stages of colorectal tumorigenesis. More recently, two genes, MSH2 and MLH1, responsible for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) have been identified. Thus the molecular mechanism of colorectal tumorigenesis now seems to be more complicated than has been supposed.