Histochemical enzymatic studies were performed on 30 freshly resected large bowel carcinomas, 30 samples of normal colonic epithelium, and six samples of the histologically normal epithelium (so-called transitional epithelium) immediately adjacent to a carcinoma. Five enzymes were studied: nicotine adenine dinucleotide tetrazolium reductase (NADH-TR), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, succinate dehydrogenase, monoamine oxidase, and acid phosphatase.
Quantitative and qualitative differences in enzyme activity were observed between normal, transitional, and carcinomatous mucosa as follows: monoamine oxidase activity was moderate in normal mucosa, high in transitional mucosa, and low in carcinoma. Succinate dehydrogenase activity was high in transitional mucosa and low or moderate in normal and carcinomatous mucosa. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity showed a gradation from low in normal mucosa to high in carcinoma while acid phosphatase showed the reverse of this pattern. The tetrazolium reductase activity was low or moderate in normal and transitional mucosa and high in carcinoma.
These differences in enzyme activity and their possible clinical and metabolic significance are discussed.
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