A technique for lectin-peroxidase histochemistry was adapted for the study of formalin fixed paraffin embedded colonic tissue. Ten lectins with differing carbohydrate binding specificity were tested against 20 normal rectal biopsy specimens and tissue from 19 colonic carcinomata, 19 tubular or tubulovillous adenomata, and 19 hyperplastic polyps. None of the normal rectal biopsy specimens bound the lectins peanut agglutinin (PNA), Griffonia simplicifolia II (GSII), and Ulex europaeus I (UEAI), whereas 18 carcinomata, 12 adenomata, and 18 hyperplastic polyps showed affinity for one or more of these lectins. Hyperplastic colonic polyps are shown to possess similar abnormalities in glycoprotein structure to malignant and adenomatous colonic tissue. This may simply indicate a non-specific reaction to changed rates of cell proliferation but might represent a more fundamental association between hyperplastic polyps and adenocarcinomas.
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