Expression of Lewis(X) and sialylated Lewis(X) antigens in human colorectal polyps

M. Yuan, S. H. Itzkowitz, L. D. Ferrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The Lewis(X) (Le(X)) antigen [characterized by trisaccharide Galβ1→4(Fucα1→3)N-acetylglucosamine] is an oncodevelopmental antigen in the human colon. Monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs), anti-SSEA-1 and AH8-183, which recognize Le(X) antigen either on short oligosaccharide side chains or as a terminal immunodeterminant on longer carbohydrate side chains of glycoconjugates, bind to most colon cancer tissues but also to some normal colon mucosae. However, the monoclonal antibodies FH1, FH4, FH6, and IB9, which recognize extended difucosylated and trifucosylated Le(X) structures or their sialylated derivatives, are more cancer-associated because they rarely bind to normal colon mucosa. In the present study, these MoAbs were used to compare the expression of various Le(X)-related antigens in premalignant (adenomatous) and nonpremalignant (hyperplastic) colorectal polyps. Antigen expression in polyps was also compared to antigen expressions of normal colon mucosa and colon cancer tissues. The four MoAbs recognizing extended Le(X) antigens bound to adenomatous polyps (APs) significantly more than to hyperplastic polyps (HPs). In contrast, anti-SSEA-1 and AH8-183 recognizing monofucosyl Le(X) were less able to distinguish between APs and HPs. In APs, staining with the four MoAbs recognizing extended Le(X) antigens correlated with the premalignant parameters of larger polyp size, more severe dysplasia, and increased villose component. However, staining with AH8-183 correlated only with polyp size, and anti-SSEA-1 correlated only with polyp size and degrees of dysplasia. In general, the staining frequency of HPs was similar to that of normal colon mucosa, although FH6, which did not stain any specimens of normal mucosa, stained a few HPs. The staining frequency of APs was less than that of colon cancer tissues, but these differences were generally not statistically significant. In conclusion, extended Le(X) antigens and their sialylated derivatives are cancer-associated antigens that are expressed preferentially in premalignant colon polyps, that tend to correlate with malignant potential in these polyps, and that may eventually help to define mechanisms involved in the polyp-to-cancer sequence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-488
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


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