Virchows Archiv

, Volume 441, Issue 1, pp 1–11

β-Catenin and the morphogenesis of colorectal cancer

  • Thomas Brabletz
  • Andreas Jung
  • Thomas Kirchner
Review Article

Abstract.

Tumor growth and progression are morphogenetic processes that are characterized by ongoing changes in tumor structure and differentiation. These processes show similarities to morphogenesis in embryonic development, as supported by the fact that the main pathways regulating morphogenesis in early embryogenesis and organogenesis are directly or indirectly altered in most neoplasms. In colorectal adenocarcinomas, different morphogenetic areas can be clearly defined. The focus of this review is on combining morphology-based aspects and recent molecular and genetic data on the progression of colorectal carcinomas. The decisive genetic alteration in most colorectal cancers is the loss of function mutation in the adenomatous polyposis coli tumor suppressor gene, leading to an accumulation of the oncoprotein β-catenin, the main effector of the embryonic Wnt/wingless pathway. The possibility is discussed that, on the basis of this genetic alteration, the tumor microenvironment is an additional driving force of tumor progression.

β-Catenin Colorectal cancer Morphogenesis Microenvironment APC 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Brabletz
    • 1
  • Andreas Jung
    • 1
  • Thomas Kirchner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Pathology, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Krankenhausstrasse 8–10, 91054 Erlangen, GermanyGermany

Personalised recommendations