Thyroid cancer in a patient with a germline MSH2 mutation. Case report and review of the Lynch syndrome expanding tumour spectrum

Hered Cancer Clin Pract. 2008 Feb 15;6(1):15-21. doi: 10.1186/1897-4287-6-1-15.


Lynch syndrome (HNPCC) is a dominantly inherited disorder characterized by germline defects in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes and the development of a variety of cancers, predominantly colorectal and endometrial. We present a 44-year-old woman who was shown to carry the truncating MSH2 gene mutation that had previously been identified in her family. Recently, she had been diagnosed with an undifferentiated carcinoma of the thyroid and an adenoma of her coecum. Although the thyroid carcinoma was not MSI-high (1 out of 5 microsatellites instable), it did show complete loss of immunohistochemical expression for the MSH2 protein, suggesting that this tumour was not coincidental. Although the risks for some tumour types, including breast cancer, soft tissue sarcoma and prostate cancer, are not significantly increased in Lynch syndrome, MMR deficiency in the presence of a corresponding germline defect has been demonstrated in incidental cases of a growing range of tumour types, which is reviewed in this paper. Interestingly, the MSH2-associated tumour spectrum appears to be wider than that of MLH1 and generally the risk for most extra-colonic cancers appears to be higher for MSH2 than for MLH1 mutation carriers. Together with a previously reported case, our findings show that anaplastic thyroid carcinoma can develop in the setting of Lynch syndrome. Uncommon Lynch syndrome-associated tumour types might be useful in the genetic analysis of a Lynch syndrome suspected family if samples from typical Lynch syndrome tumours are unavailable.