Syndromic and sporadic fundic gland polyps are morphologically indistinguishable but may arise via different pathogenetic mechanisms involving mutations of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) and its downstream target β-catenin genes. Although a higher frequency of dysplasia has been reported in syndromic forms, the risk of developing invasive carcinoma is exceedingly low. The current study was designed to investigate whether syndromic and sporadic fundic gland polyps differ in protein expression of a number of genes that are thought to be important in the control of neoplastic transformation. A total of 262 fundic gland polyps, including 155 syndromic polyps obtained from 35 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis or Gardner's syndrome and 107 sporadic polyps randomly selected from 45 patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease or Barrett's esophagus, were included in this study. Immunohistochemical evaluation showed that loss of immunoreactivity to the antibody against the carboxyl terminus of the APC protein, presumably resulting from APC gene mutations, was more frequent in syndromic than in sporadic cases (40% versus 6.7%, P < 0.001). However, immunostaining failed to show aberrant nuclear localization of β-catenin, a protein regulated by APC, in any of the polyps, irrespective of syndromic or sporadic types. Instead, positive membranous staining for β-catenin was observed in all the cases. In addition, the expression characteristics of 2 other proteins, c-Myc and cyclin D1, whose genes have been reported to be transcriptionally regulated by the APC/β-catenin pathway, were similar in these two types of polyps. Furthermore, all cases, including those harboring dysplasia, showed negative nuclear staining for p53 and positive nuclear staining for retinoblastoma (RB). Taken together, these data show a lack of dysregulation in the APC/β-catenin signaling pathway and in the expression of p53 and RB in fundic gland polyps despite a high frequency of somatic mutations of the APC and β-catenin genes reported in these polyps. These findings may explain at least in part why fundic gland polyps show a negligible malignant potential even in the presence of dysplasia.
- Cyclin D1
- Fundic gland polyp