KIT (CD117) is a growth factor receptor of the tyrosine kinase subclass III family, normally expressed in a variety of human tissues. Gain-of-function mutations of the KIT gene have been identified that produce ligand-independent activation of KIT and cell proliferation. KIT receptor and its ligand have been demonstrated in human colon cancer cell lines. Some studies have shown high frequency of KIT overexpression in stage II colon cancer patients (59.3%) with significant correlation between KIT overexpression and reduced disease free survival. However, other studies failed to demonstrate KIT expression in a significant number of colorectal cancers suggesting that KIT kinase activation is not a prominent pathogenetic feature of colorectal cancers. Role of KIT continues to be studied in colon cancers. KIT K807N missense mutation is known to be oncogenic. Several tyrosine kinase inhibitors against KIT are available, mainly for gastrointestinal stromal tumors and melanoma. The role of these targeted therapies in colorectal carcinomas need to be further elucidated.
Yorke R, et al. c-kit proto-oncogene product is rarely detected in colorectal adenocarcinoma. J Clin Oncol 2003;21(20):3885-6; discussion 3886-7
El-Serafi MM, et al. The prognostic value of c-Kit, K-ras codon 12, and p53 codon 72 mutations in Egyptian patients with stage II colorectal cancer. Cancer 2010;116(21):4954-64
Reed J, et al. Immunohistochemical staining for c-Kit (CD117) is a rare event in human colorectal carcinoma. Clin Colorectal Cancer 2002;2(2):119-22
Bellone G, et al. Aberrant activation of c-kit protects colon carcinoma cells against apoptosis and enhances their invasive potential. Cancer Res 2001;61(5):2200-6
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