DNA mismatch repair protein deficient non-neoplastic colonic crypts: a novel indicator of Lynch syndrome

Mod Pathol. 2018 Oct;31(10):1608-1618. doi: 10.1038/s41379-018-0079-6. Epub 2018 Jun 8.


Lynch syndrome is the most common form of hereditary colorectal carcinoma. However, establishing the diagnosis of Lynch syndrome is challenging, and ancillary studies that distinguish between sporadic DNA mismatch repair (MMR) protein deficiency and Lynch syndrome are needed, particularly when germline mutation studies are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to determine if MMR protein-deficient non-neoplastic intestinal crypts can help distinguish between patients with and without Lynch syndrome. We evaluated the expression of MMR proteins in non-neoplastic intestinal mucosa obtained from colorectal surgical resection specimens from patients with Lynch syndrome-associated colorectal carcinoma (n = 52) and patients with colorectal carcinoma without evidence of Lynch syndrome (n = 70), including sporadic MMR protein-deficient colorectal carcinoma (n = 30), MMR protein proficient colorectal carcinoma (n = 30), and "Lynch-like" syndrome (n = 10). MMR protein-deficient non-neoplastic colonic crypts were identified in 19 of 122 (16%) patients. MMR protein-deficient colonic crypts were identified in 18 of 52 (35%) patients with Lynch syndrome compared to only 1 of 70 (1%) patients without Lynch syndrome (p < 0.001). This one patient had "Lynch-like" syndrome and harbored two MSH2-deficient non-neoplastic colonic crypts. MMR protein-deficient non-neoplastic colonic crypts were not identified in patients with sporadic MMR protein-deficient or MMR protein proficient colorectal carcinoma. Our findings suggest that MMR protein-deficient colonic crypts are a novel indicator of Lynch syndrome, and evaluation for MMR protein-deficient crypts may be a helpful addition to Lynch syndrome diagnostics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / genetics
  • DNA Mismatch Repair / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged