Colon carcinomas with microsatellite mutator phenotype exhibit specific genetic and clinico-pathological features. This report describes the analysis of 63 "microsatellite instability-high" (MSI-H) tumors for the presence of mutations in microsatellites located in the coding regions (CDRs) of 6 genes: TGFbetaRII, BAX, hMSH3, hMSH6, IGFIIR, and BLM. The following frequencies of mutations were detected: TGFbetaRII (70%), BAX (54%), hMSH3 (36.5%), IGFIIR (22%), hMSH6 (17.5%), and BLM (16%). The overall picture revealed combinations of mutations suggestive of a progressive order of accumulation, with mutations of TGFbetaRII and BAX first, followed by frameshifts in hMSH3, hMSH6, IGFIIR, and BLM. Correlations with 12 clinico-pathological parameters revealed that tumors with frameshifts in 1 or 2 CDRs were significantly better differentiated than tumors with frameshifts in more than 2 CDRs. We also found that mutations in the hMSH3 gene were significantly associated with decreased wall invasiveness and aneuploidy, and frameshifts in the BLM gene were significantly associated with the mucinous histotype. A trend toward an association between hMSH3 and IGFIIR with the medullary and conventional adenocarcinoma histotypes, respectively, was seen. Our results strengthen the concept that mutations in target genes have a role in the tumorigenic process of MSI-H tumors, and indicate that frameshifts in microsatellites located in CDRs occur in a limited number of combinations that could determine distinct clinico-pathological traits.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.