• colorectal neoplasia;
  • Ki-67 labeling;
  • MUC1 mucin;
  • MUC2 mucin

Our previous studies on MUC1 and MUC2 mucin expression in various human neoplasms have found that MUC1 expression is related with a poor outcome whereas MUC2 expression is related with a favorable outcome. In the present study, we examined the alteration of MUC1 and MUC2 antigens on malignant transformation of colorectal mucosa, and also its relationship with cell proliferative activity (Ki-67 labeling index) of neoplastic epithelial cells in 200 adenomas and 58 carcinomas. In the 200 adenomas, we analyzed a total of 400 adenomatous lesions (mild dysplasia, 200 lesions; moderate dysplasia, 153 lesions; severe dysplasia, 47 lesions). MUC1 was expressed in carcinomas (24%) and adenomas with severe dysplasia (4%), but was not expressed in adenomas with mild or moderate dysplasia. MUC2 was expressed in a significantly greater number of adenomas with mild dysplasia (72%) than in adenomas with moderate dysplasia (45%) or severe dysplasia (47%), as well as in the carcinomas (38%; P< 0.0001). The Ki-67 labeling index was significantly lower in the MUC2-positive cases than in the MUC2-negative cases in the adenomas with mild dysplasia (13.6 vs 24.2%; P< 0.0001) or moderate dysplasia (25.7 vs 44.4%; P< 0.0001), and in the carcinomas (32.5 vs 48.4%; P< 0.05). In conclusion, the data from our study indicate that increased MUC1 expression and reduced MUC2 expression may be related to malignant transformation of colorectal neoplasia. We also demonstrated that decreased MUC2 expression, which is correlated with increased Ki-67 labeling, may play an important role in the progression of colorectal adenomatous change.