Variable expression of P-glycoprotein in normal, inflamed, and dysplastic areas in ulcerative colitis

T. J. Saclarides, S. M. Jakate, J. S. Coon, A. K. Bhattacharyya, J. M. Dominguez, D. J. Szeluga, R. S. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Screening programs for the detection of cancer in ulcerative colitis are inexact and not always successful in finding early, curable cancers. P-glycoprotein is a membrane-based, energy-dependent protein found in varying degrees within normal human tissue. P-glycoprotein is overexpressed in malignant tumors, particularly colorectal cancer, and is known to convey resistance to certain anticancer drugs by acting as a membrane "pump." The purpose of this study was to determine the expression of this protein in inflamed and premalignant colonic epithelium, compare its expression with normal controls, and assess its potential use as a screening tool for high-risk patients with ulcerative colitis. Using immunohistochemical techniques, the colons of 21 patients (10 with dysplasia) with ulcerative colitis were stained with monoclonal antibody C-219 (MAbC219) specific for P-glycoprotein. P-glycoprotein was expressed in 38 percent of normal areas, 71 percent of inflamed areas (P=0.0156), and 70 percent of dysplastic areas. Comparing the level of expression when progressing from normal to inflamed areas within a given patient, 11 patients (52 percent) showed increased expression, 8 (38 percent) showed equal expression, and only 2 (10 percent) showed decreased expression (P=0.0225). Comparing expression when progressing from inflamed to dysplastic areas (10 patients), 7 showed equal expression and 3 showed increased expression (P=0.25). Increasing duration of disease was associated with a significant increase in P-glycoprotein expression, but only in histologically normal areas. Duration of disease had no effect on P-glycoprotein expression in inflamed or dysplastic areas. Similarly, when surgery was performed for elective reasons, there was a significant overexpression of P-glycoprotein, but only in histologically normal areas. Our findings suggest that the increase in P-glycoprotein expression from normal to inflamed and dysplastic areas reflects the premalignant nature of ulcerative colitis and occurs early in the course of the disease. Further research needs to be done to determine its role in cancer surveillance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-752
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1992


  • Colectomy
  • Dysplasia
  • Multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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