Aim: The genetic make-up of gastric cancers in low-risk population groups from South Africa is largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the incidence of microsatellite instability and loss of heterozygosity in this population.
Methods: Thirty-seven gastrectomy specimens for sporadic gastric cancer were analysed for the following clinicopathological parameters: age, gender, race, histopathological type, size of tumour, lymph node status and the presence/absence of Helicobacter pylori. DNA was then extracted from paraffin-embedded tissue and seven microsatellite markers in 2p, 3p, 5q and 18q loci were examined using automated DNA fluorescent technology.
Results: Only eight cases showed microsatellite instability (MSI) for one marker and were thus categorised as MSI-low. In the 3p region, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) was detected in 21.7-38.3% of informative cases, whilst in the 18q region CLOH ranged from 25 to 38.4%. LOH was not seen in the 2p locus and only one case showed LOH in the 5q region. When the molecular changes were compared with clinicopathological parameters, a statistically significant relationship did not emerge with any single parameter.
Conclusions: This study shows that sporadic gastric cancer from a low-risk population in South Africa is MSI-low or MSI-stable, and that LOH in the 3p and 18q regions is similar to that seen in other low-risk populations from different geographical regions.