The expression of c-myb, c-myc, histone H3, and ornithine decarboxylase genes was examined by Northern blot analysis in the normal and neoplastic mucosa of ten subjects affected by colon cancer. The mRNA levels of c-myb protooncogene were detected at low levels in all normal samples but were increased in the neoplastic mucosa of six cases in comparison to the normal counterpart. In five of these six cases the mRNA levels of c-myc, histone H3, and ornithine decarboxylase mRNAs were also increased, suggesting that there is a relation between the high expression of c-myb and the fraction of cycling neoplastic cells.

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Supported by a grant from the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (U. T.) and by a grant from the Milheim Foundation (B. C.).

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