Apolipoprotein A-I reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis for detection of hematogenous colon cancer dissemination

Nicola Normanno, Antonella De Luca, Antonella Castaldo, Amelia Casamassimi, Anna Di Popolo, Raffaele Zarrilli, Antonio Porcellini, Angela M. Acquaviva, Vittorio E. Avvedimento, Sandro Pignata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detection of systemic tumor dissemination in colon carcinoma patients might be important for selection of appropriate treatment modalities. It has been previously shown that Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-I) is expressed in human intestinal epithelial cells, and in some human colon carcinoma cell lines. We examined the expression of Apo A-I mRNA in 14 human primary colon carcinomas by Northern blot and/or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT- PCR) analysis. An Apo A-I specific transcript was found in up to 70% of the colon carcinomas. We developed an RT-PCR assay for Apo A-I transcripts, to identify circulating carcinoma cells in the peripheral blood of colon cancer patients. The Apo A-I RT-PCR assay was optimized using limiting dilution of an Apo A-I positive cancer cell line mixed with peripheral blood from healthy donor. In this system, up to 10 colon carcinoma cells were detected in 5 ml of peripheral blood. We examined Apo A-I mRNA expression in peripheral blood samples from 4 healthy donors, 20 colon carcinoma patients, and 11 individuals with tumor disease other than colon cancer. No Apo A-I mRNA was detected in the healthy donors and in the patients without colon cancer. Two out of 10 patients with metastatic colon carcinoma were positive by this assay, whereas Apo A-I mRNA was not found in any of the blood samples from the 10 radically resected colon carcinoma patients. These data suggest that Apo A-I RT-PCR assay is a highly specific and sensitive assay, although a low number of advanced colon carcinoma patients was found to be positive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-447
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998


  • Colon carcinoma
  • Metastasis
  • Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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