Background: Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant disorder predisposing to predominantly colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer frequently due to germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes, mainly MLH1, MSH2 and also MSH6 in families seen to demonstrate an excess of endometrial cancer. As a consequence, tumors in HNPCC reveal alterations in the length of simple repetitive genomic sequences like poly-A, poly-T, CA or GT repeats (microsatellites) in at least 90% of the cases.
Aim of the study: The study cohort consisted of 25 HNPCC index patients (19 Amsterdam positive, 6 Bethesda positive) who revealed a microsatellite stable (MSS)--or low instable (MSI-L)--tumor phenotype with negative mutation analysis for the MMR genes MLH1 and MSH2. An extended marker panel (BAT40, D10S197, D13S153, D18S58, MYCL1) was analyzed for the tumors of these patients with regard to three aspects. First, to reconfirm the MSI-L phenotype found by the standard panel; second, to find minor MSIs which might point towards an MSH6 mutation, and third, to reconfirm the MSS status of hereditary tumors. The reconfirmation of the MSS status of tumors not caused by mutations in the MMR genes should allow one to define another entity of hereditary CRC. Their clinical features were compared with those of 150 patients with sporadic CRCs.
Results: In this way, 17 MSS and 8 MSI-L tumors were reclassified as 5 MSS, 18 MSI-L and even 2 MSI-H (high instability) tumors, the last being seen to demonstrate at least 4 instable markers out of 10. Among all family members, 87 malignancies were documented. The mean age of onset for CRCs was the lowest in the MSI-H-phenotyped patients with 40.5 +/- 4.9 years (vs. 47.0 +/- 14.6 and 49.8 +/- 11.9 years in MSI-L- and MSS-phenotyped patients, respectively). The percentage of CRC was the highest in families with MSS-phenotyped tumors (88%), followed by MSI-L-phenotyped (78%) and then by MSI-H-phenotyped (67%) tumors. MSS tumors were preferentially localized in the distal colon supposing a similar biologic behavior like sporadic CRC. MSH6 mutation analysis for the MSI-L and MSI-H patients revealed one truncating mutation for a patient initially with an MSS tumor, which was reclassified as MSI-L by analyzing the extended marker panel.
Conclusion: Extended microsatellite analysis serves to evaluate the sensitivity of the reference panel for HNPCC detection and permits phenotype confirmation or upgrading. Additionally, it confirms the MSS status of hereditary CRCs not caused by the common mutations in the MMR genes and provides hints to another entity of hereditary CRC.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel