Several different genetic alterations in the etiology of Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer [HNPCC]) are known, mostly point mutations and genomic rearrangements in 1 of at least 3 mismatch-repair (MMR) genes. However, no susceptibility factor has yet been identified in a significant part (30-50%) of clinicopathologically well-defined HNPCC families, suggesting the presence of other predisposing mechanisms. In a set of probands from 27 Lynch syndrome families who lacked evidence of a germline mutation in either the MSH2 or MLH1 gene, we performed genomic deletion screening with the use of multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) and sequencing. We used immunohistochemistry (IHC) and microsatellite instability (MSI) analyses on samples of the probands of all families. Comparative analysis of mRNA transcripts was performed on blood leukocyte-derived samples from mutation carriers and noncarrier controls. We report that large germline deletions encompassing the last exons of the TACSTD1 gene, upstream of MSH2, cosegregate with the HNPCC phenotype in 19% (5/27) of families tested. The tumors of the carriers show high-level MSI and MSH2 protein loss. We show that these deletions, by removing the transcriptional termination sequences of the upstream gene, give rise to multiple TACSTD1/MSH2 fusion transcripts. Our results provide evidence that deletions removing the last exon of TACSTD1 constitute a distinct class of mutations predisposing to Lynch syndrome. Thus, analysis of the 3' region of the TACSTD1 gene should be included in the routine mutation screening protocols for HNPCC.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.