Loss of mismatch repair (MMR) capacity may represent an important tumor initiating mechanism in ovarian cancer. We conducted a systematic review to analyze the frequency of microsatellite instability (MSI), immunohistochemical (IHC) staining for MMR proteins, and hypermethylation of the MLH1 promoter region in ovarian cancers. Studies examining MSI, loss of MMR gene expression by IHC staining and MLH1 promoter hypermethylation in ovarian cancer were identified by a systematic literature search of the PubMed electronic database through August 31, 2009. Pertinent data was extracted from eligible studies and estimates for pooled proportions were computed using random effects models. The pooled proportion of MSI detection was 0.10 (95% CI, 0.06-0.14) among 1,234 cases in 22 studies. Dinonucleotide markers had a higher frequency of instability than mononucleotide markers. The pooled proportion of MLH1 or MSH2 staining loss was 0.06 (95% CI, 0.01-0.17) among 474 cases in three studies, with a higher frequency of loss in MLH1. The pooled proportion of MLH1 methylation was 0.10 (95% CI, 0.06-0.15) among 672 cases in seven studies. Data reporting MSI and loss of MMR staining in the same cases was limited. Although MMR deficiency was found in all histologic subtypes, endometrioid cancers had the highest proportion. Approximately 10% of unselected ovarian cancers are related to MMR deficiency. While MMR deficiency is associated with improved survival in other MMR-deficiency related cancer sites, epidemiological and clinical factors related to the MMR-deficient phenotype have not been adequately studied in ovarian cancer to date.
Published 2010 UICC.