|Hietala, O. A.; Yum, K. Y.; Pilon, J.; O'Donnell, K.; Holroyde, C. P.; Kline, I.; Reichard, G. A.; Litwin, S.; Gilmour, S. K.; O'Brien, T. G.
|Properties of ornithine decarboxylase in human colorectal adenocarcinomas
|Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity was measured in colon adenocarcinomas and adjacent normal-appearing colon mucosa from a total of 40 patients undergoing surgical resections. The enzyme activity was measured in the presence and absence of GTP, since recent work has demonstrated a GTP-activatable form of ODC in some murine and human tumors. In general, ODC specific activity was higher in adenocarcinomas than in adjacent normal-appearing mucosa. Of greater interest, however, was the finding that 13 of 40 tumors and 3 of 40 mucosae contained a GTP-activatable form of ODC. These are minimal estimates of the proportion of tissues positive for this enzyme form, since a multiple sampling protocol indicated that expression of a GTP-activatable ODC was not uniform throughout a given tumor. Chromatographic analyses of tumor extracts revealed the presence in some tumors of multiple size forms of ODC, only some of which were activated by GTP. Enzyme kinetic data indicated that the multiple forms of ODC can have different affinities for L-ornithine and that GTP can "normalize" the aberrant kinetic properties of these forms. While there was no statistically significant correlation of the presence of a GTP-activatable ODC with stage of disease, analysis of our data revealed a positive association of a GTP-activatable ODC with tumor site; a much higher percentage of tumors of the cecum contained this ODC isoform than tumors of other colonic segments (64% versus less than or equal to 25% for other sites). These results demonstrate (a) the presence of a functionally distinct form of ODC in some human colon adenocarcinomas and (b) a distinct regional distribution of this ODC form within the colon. We suggest this alteration in a key enzyme in the growth-associated pathway of polyamine biosynthesis may play a role in colon tumor progression.