Background & aims: The role of the mismatch repair gene PMS2 in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal carcinoma (HNPCC) is not fully clarified. To date, only 7 different heterozygous truncating PMS2 mutations have been reported in HNPCC-suspected families. Our aim was to further assess the role of PMS2 in HNPCC.
Methods: We performed Southern blot analysis in 112 patients from MLH1-, MSH2-, and MSH6-negative HNPCC-like families. A subgroup (n = 38) of these patients was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). In a second study group consisting of 775 index patients with familial colorectal cancer, we performed immunohistochemistry using antibodies against MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 proteins. In 8 of 775 tumors, only loss of PMS2 expression was found. In these cases, we performed Southern blot analysis and DGGE. Segregation analysis was performed in the families with a (possibly) deleterious mutation.
Results: Seven novel mutations were identified: 4 genomic rearrangements and 3 truncating point mutations. Three of these 7 families fulfill the Amsterdam II criteria. The pattern of inheritance is autosomal dominant with a milder phenotype compared with families with pathogenic MLH1 or MSH2 mutations. Microsatellite instability and immunohistochemical analysis performed in HNPCC-related tumors from proven carriers showed a microsatellite instability high phenotype and loss of PMS2 protein expression in all tumors.
Conclusions: We show that heterozygous truncating mutations in PMS2 do play a role in a small subset of HNPCC-like families. PMS2 mutation analysis is indicated in patients diagnosed with a colorectal tumor with absent staining for the PMS2 protein.