Dominant oncogenes and tumour suppressor gene abnormalities are crucial events in human cancer. Many molecular techniques are used to identify these abnormalities, including single strand conformational polymorphism, the polymerase chain reaction, cloning, and sequencing, although the biological relevance of these changes is not always apparent. Immunohistochemistry (ICH) or western blotting of abnormal gene products can provide information about their cellular localisation and expression in neoplastic versus normal cells, and can sometimes give a clue to their function. For example, ICH has shown how loss of the intercellular adhesion molecule E-cadherin, or abnormal localisation from the cell membrane to the cytoplasm, correlates with a diffuse tumour phenotype and a less favourable clinical outcome. Similarly, ICH of β-catenin (a protein that binds E-cadherin and is essential for its function) has shown abnormal cellular localisation in the nucleus in a variety of human malignancies; in particular, colorectal carcinomas, where abnormal forms of the adenomatous polyposis coli gene product cause nuclear and cytoplasmic sequestration of β-catenin. Such studies show how morphological assessment can sometimes provide insight into molecular function and dysfunction in human malignancy.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Clinical Pathology - Molecular Pathology
|Published - 2002
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine