Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The adenoma-carcinoma sequence describes the development of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) from benign colorectal precursor lesions. Molecular classification of established CRC has demonstrated considerable disease heterogeneity; however, as an emerging cancer frequently outgrows and destroys the initial precursor lesion, CRC molecular taxonomy can only be partially reconciled with histologically classified polyps. Thus, the molecular pathogenesis of some colorectal polyp types, including the traditional serrated adenoma (TSA), is still unclear. Now, candidate driver gene analysis of a cohort of different polyps reveals characteristic, but highly variable, mutations disrupting the Wnt signalling pathway across different histological polyp subtypes. How and when different precursor lesions acquire Wnt disruption reflects important distinctions in polyp biology, dependent on a combination of the dominant molecular pathway and the cell of origin of individual lesions. TSAs preferentially acquire ligand-dependent Wnt activating mutations, which means that the cancers that arise from these aggressive polyps may be sensitive to targeted Wnt inhibition. This paper demonstrates that applying next-generation sequencing technology to improve our understanding of colorectal precursor lesion molecular pathogenesis could also give important and translationally relevant insights into colorectal cancer biology. Copyright © 2016 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


The Journal of pathology

Publication Date





387 - 390


Gastrointestinal Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Oxford Centre for Cancer Gene Research, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, UK.


Humans, Adenoma, Colorectal Neoplasms, Intestinal Polyps, Colonic Polyps, United Kingdom