BACKGROUND: Hyperplastic polyps are common benign colorectal polyps, and are thought to have little association with malignant tumours in the colorectum. However, several reports suggest that some hyperplastic polyps may develop into colorectal neoplasms. AIM: To clarify genetic alterations in colorectal hyperplastic polyps. METHODS: Twenty eight colorectal polyps having serrated components were resected from patients endoscopically. The K-ras gene mutations in codons 12 and 13 were analysed by PCR-RFLP. Intranuclear p53 protein was immunostained by the avidin-biotin complex method. RESULTS: A mutation of the K-ras gene was detected in nine (47%) of 19 hyperplastic polyps, and five (56%) of nine adenomas. p53 protein nuclear accumulation was detected immunohistochemically in two (22%) of nine adenomas, but not in any of the hyperplastic polyps. CONCLUSION: Some hyperplastic polyps may be true neoplastic lesions, and could be precursors of malignant neoplasia.
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