Double-label immunofluorescence was used to monitor basement-membrane composition and integrity in 22 human colon polyps, 36 adenocarcinomas and 2 metastases. Cryostat sections were stained with polyclonal anti-laminin anti-serum combined with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to all major basement-membrane components (laminin, entactin/nidogen, collagen type IV and large heparan sulfate proteoglycan), as well as to keratin 8. In all adenocarcinomas, including mucinous, basement membranes were altered more at the invasive front than in the parenchyma. The degree of this alteration was inversely correlated with the level of tumor differentiation. An uncoordinated loss of basement membrane components (dissociation of markers), previously described by us in rat colon adenocarcinomas, was also found in human tumors. In the great majority of adenocarcinomas a pronounced stromal reaction was seen. It was manifested by the presence of fibrillar deposits of basement-membrane components, mainly of collagen type IV and/or heparan sulfate proteoglycan. This reaction was never observed in polyps and may be derived from myofibroblasts reported to accumulate in colon cancer stroma. The combined use of antibodies to basement-membrane components and to a specific keratin may constitute an adequate immunohistochemical test for the presence of invasion, and may be useful in the histologic analysis of polyps, especially in dubious cases.
Keywords: Adenocarcinoma; Antibodies, Monoclonal; Basement Membrane; Blotting, Western; Collagen; Colon; Extracellular Matrix Proteins; Fluorescent Antibody Technique; Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans; Heparitin Sulfate; Humans; Intestinal Neoplasms; Intestinal Polyps; Keratins; Laminin; Lymphatic Metastasis; Membrane Glycoproteins; Proteoglycans