Impact of DNA mismatch repair proteins deficiency on number and ratio of lymph nodal metastases in colorectal adenocarcinoma

Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Mar:243:154366. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2023.154366. Epub 2023 Feb 10.


Background: Approximately 15 % of colorectal adenocarcinomas (CRCs) are characterized by an altered expression of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) proteins (i.e. MMR deficiency [MMRd]). Lymph node ratio (LNR) represents one of the most important prognostic markers in non-advanced CRCs. No significant data are available regarding LNR distribution depending on MMR status.

Purpose of the study: The aim of the present work was to compare pathological and clinical characteristics of MMRd tumors versus MMR proficient (MMRp) cases. Particular attention was paid to how these molecular sub-groups relate to the LNR.

Materials and methods: A mono-Institutional series of 1037 consecutive surgically treated stage I-IV CRCs were retrospectively selected and data were obtained from pathological reports. Cases were characterized for MMR/MSI status by means of immunohistochemistry or for microsatellite instability (MSI) analysis.

Results: MMRd/MSI tumors (n = 194; 18.7 %) showed significant differences in comparison to MMRp lesions for sex (female prevalence 50.5 % vs 40.7 %; p = 0.013), age (74.2 vs 69.2; p < 0.001), location (right side; p < 0.001), diameter (larger than MMRp; p < 0.001), growth pattern (expansive pattern of growth; p < 0.001), peri- (p = 0.0002) and intra-neoplastic (p = 0.0018) inflammatory infiltrate, presence of perineural invasion (p < 0.001), stage (lower stage at presentation; p < 0.001), grade (higher prevalence of high-grade tumors; p < 0.001), and LNR (lower; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: MMRd/MSI tumors are a distinct molecular CRC subtype characterized by a significantly lower LNR in comparison to MMRp lesions. These data further support the prognostic impact of MMRd/MSI status in early-stage CRCs.

Keywords: Colorectal adenocarcinoma, lymph node metastasis; Lymph node ratio; MMR.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • DNA Mismatch Repair
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Turcot syndrome