Paraffin wax sections of 70 surgically resected colorectal adenocarcinomas were examined for the overexpression of HER2/c-erbB-2 oncoprotein using three different specific antibodies and the avidin-biotin immunoperoxidase technique. The patients included 38 men and 32 women aged between 47 and 80 years. The tumours were derived from various parts of the large intestinal tract, and represented all three stages of Dukes' classification and the three histological grades of differentiation. Many tumour sections also included adjacent normal or transitional mucosa. Eight tubular adenomas found in the colectomy specimens in association with some carcinomas were also examined. No positive membrane staining was seen in any of the 70 carcinomas, four adenomas, two hyperplastic polyps, nor in the adjacent normal or transitional mucosa. It is suggested that the overexpression of c-erbB-2 gene product is unlikely to be as common and as pronounced in colorectal adenocarcinoma as it is in ductal carcinoma of the breast.
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