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Cell Adhesion Molecule Linked to Cancerous Changes in Colon

Deregulated expression of P-cadherin associated with colon cancer

THURSDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Deregulated expression of a cell adhesion molecule in the intestine is associated with colon cancer and precancerous changes in the colon, researchers report in the Oct. 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Anita Milicic, from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated how the expression of the cell adhesion molecule P-cadherin is controlled and the resulting biologic effects in the intestine and colon.

The researchers found that the P-cadherin gene promoter was hypomethylated in cases of colorectal cancer, in colonic aberrant crypt foci, and occasionally in adjacent normal epithelium. This was associated with P-cadherin expression in neoplastic colon, which the authors had previously showed is not observed in healthy intestine and colon. Mice that expressed P-cadherin in the intestinal and colonic epithelium, combined with inflammation, had a threefold higher crypt fission rate compared with normal mice.

"We conclude that epigenetic demethylation of the P-cadherin promoter in the human intestine permits its ectopic expression very early in the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence and persists during invasive cancer," Milicic and colleagues conclude.

Two of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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