• We are studying the ability of colorectal carcinomas, which vary in degree of differentiation, to assemble a basement membrane and the relationship between differences in this ability and perturbations in laminin expression. For these studies, we are using human colorectal carcinoma cells grown both in vitro and in nude mice as well as tumors obtained at surgery. Immunoperoxidase staining of human tumors indicates that laminin is present in a defined basement membrane in moderately to well-differentiated tumors. This staining pattern is absent in poorly differentiated tumors. In these tumors, staining is discontinuous and sometimes observed intracellularly. The laminin synthesized by in vitro cells was immunoprecipitated and analyzed by acrylamide electrophoresis. Neither poorly nor well-differentiated carcinoma cells exhibit marked differences in the rate of synthesis of laminin. Differences are present in the rate at which newly synthesized laminin is secreted. These differences may result from alterations in posttranslational processing. Such alterations may contribute, along with other factors, to the inability of poorly differentiated tumors to make a basement membrane.
(Arch Surg 1987;122:1470-1474)