Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant syndrome. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has recommended the Revised Bethesda guidelines for screening HNPCC. There has been a great deal of research on the value of these tests in other countries. However, literature about the Chinese population is scarce. Our objective is to detect and study microsatellite instability (MSI) and mismatch repair (MMR) gene germline mutation carriers among a Chinese population with colorectal cancer.
In 146 prospectively recruited consecutive patients with clinically proven colorectal cancer, MSI carriers were identified by analysis of tumor tissue using multiplex fluorescence polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using the NCI recommended panel and classified into microsatellite instability-low (MSI-L), microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) and microsatellite stable (MSS) groups. Immunohistochemical staining for MSH2, MSH6 and MLH1 on tissue microarrays (TMAs) was performed, and methylation of the MLH1 promoter was analyzed by quantitative methylation specific PCR (MSP). Germline mutation analysis of blood samples was performed for MSH2, MSH6 and MLH1 genes.
Thirty-four out of the 146 colorectal cancers (CRCs, 23.2%) were MSI, including 19 MSI-H CRCs and 15 MSI-L CRCS. Negative staining for MSH2 was found in 8 CRCs, negative staining for MSH6 was found in 6 CRCs. One MSI-H CRC was negative for both MSH6 and MSH2. Seventeen CRCs stained negatively for MLH1. MLH1 promoter methylation was determined in 34 MSI CRCs. Hypermethylation of the MLH1 promoter occurred in 14 (73.7%) out of 19 MSI-H CRCs and 5 (33.3%) out of 15 MSI-L CRCs. Among the 34 MSI carriers and one MSS CRC with MLH1 negative staining, 8 had a MMR gene germline mutation, which accounted for 23.5% of all MSI colorectal cancers and 5.5% of all the colorectal cancers. Five patients harbored MSH2 germline mutations, and three patients harbored MSH6 germline mutations. None of the patients had an MLH1 mutation. Mutations were commonly located in exon 7 and 12 of MSH2 and exon 5 of MSH6. Right colonic lesions and mucinous carcinoma were not common in MSI carriers.
Our data may imply that the characteristics of HNPCC in the Chinese population are probably different from those of Western countries. Application of NCI recommended criteria may not be effective enough to identify Chinese HNPCC families. Further studies are necessary to echo or refute our results so as to make the NCI recommendation more universally applicable.
AIM: To detect the MLH1 gene promoter germline-methylation in probands of Chinese hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), and to evaluate the role of methylation in MLH1 gene promoter and molecular genetics in screening for HNPCC.
METHODS: The promoter germline methylation of MLH1 gene was detected by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) in 18 probands from unrelated HNPCC families with high microsatellite-instability (MSI-H) phenotype but without germline mutations in MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6 genes. At the same time, 6 kindreds were collected with microsatellite-stability (MSS) phenotype but without germline mutations in MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6 genes as controls. The results of MSP were confirmed by clone sequencing. To ensure the reliability of the results, family H65 with nonsense germline mutation at c.2228C > A in MSH2 gene was used as the negative control and the cell line sw48 was used as the known positive control along with water as the blank control. Immunochemical staining of MLH1 protein was performed with Envision two-step method in those patients with aberrant methylation to judge whether the status of MLH1 gene methylation affects the expression of MLH1 protein.
RESULTS: Five probands with MLH1 gene promoter methylation were detected in 18 Chinese HNPCC families with MSI-H phenotype but without germline mutations in MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6 genes. Two of the five probands from families H10 and H29 displayed exhaustive-methylation, fulfilling the Japanese criteria (JC) and the Amsterdam criteria (AC), respectively. The other 3 probands presented part-methylation fulfilling the AC. Of the 13 probands with unmethylation phenotype, 8 fulfilled the JC and the Bethesda guidelines (BG), 5 fulfilled the AC. The rate of aberrant methylation in MLH1 gene in the AC group (22.2%, 4/18) was higher than that in the JC/BG groups (5.6%, 1/18) in all HNPCC families with MSI-H phenotype but without germline mutations in MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6 genes. However, no proband with methylation in MLH1 gene was found in the families with MSS phenotype and without germline mutations in MSH2, MLH1 and MSH6 genes. No expression of MLH1 protein was found in tumor tissues from two patients with exhaustive-methylation phenotype, whereas positive expression of MLH1 protein was observed in tumor tissues from patients with partial methylation phenotype (excluding family H42 without tumor tissue), indicating that exhaustive-methylation of MLH1 gene can cause defective expression of MLH1 protein.
CONCLUSION: Methylation phenotype of MLH1 gene is correlated with microsatellite phenotype of MMR genes, especially with MSI-H. Exhaustive-methylation of MLH1 gene can silence the expression of MLH1 protein. MLH1 promoter methylation analysis is a promising tool for molecular genetics screening for HNPCC.
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; MLH1; Methylation; Germline; Methylation-specific PCR; Microsatellite phenotype
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is the most common genetic susceptibility syndrome for colorectal cancer. HNPCC is most frequently caused by germline mutations in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes MSH2 and MLH1. Recently, mutations in another MMR gene, MSH6 (also known as GTBP), have also been shown to result in HNPCC. Preliminary data indicate that the phenotype related to MSH6 mutations may differ from the classical HNPCC caused by defects in MSH2 and MLH1.
Here, we describe an extended Dutch HNPCC family not fulfilling the Amsterdam criteria II and resulting from a MSH6 mutation. Overall, the penetrance of colorectal cancer appears to be significantly decreased (p<0.001) among the MSH6 mutation carriers in this family when compared with MSH2 and MLH1 carriers (32% by the age of 80 v >80%).
Endometrial cancer is a frequent manifestation among female carriers (six out of 13 malignant tumours). Transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary tract is also relatively common in both male and female carriers (10% of the carriers).
Moreover, the mean age of onset of both colorectal cancer (MSH6 v MSH2/MLH1 = 55 years v 44/41 years) and endometrial carcinomas (MSH6 v MSH2/MLH1 = 55 years v 49/48 years) is delayed. As previously reported, we confirm that the pattern of microsatellite instability, in combination with immunohistochemical analysis, can predict the presence of a MSH6 germline defect.
The detailed characterisation of the clinical phenotype of this kindred contributes to the establishment of genotype-phenotype correlations in HNPCC owing to mutations in specific mismatch repair genes.
Keywords: hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; MSH6
Depending on the population studied, large genomic rearrangements (LGRs) of the mismatch repair (MMR) genes constitute various proportions of the germline mutations that predispose to hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). It has been reported that loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the LGR region occurs through a gene conversion mechanism in tumors from MLH1/MSH2 deletion carriers; however, the converted tracts were delineated only by extragenic microsatellite markers. We sought to determine the frequency of LGRs in Slovak HNPCC patients and to study LOH in tumors from LGR carriers at the LGR region, as well as at other heterozygous markers within the gene to more precisely define conversion tracts.
The main MMR genes responsible for HNPCC, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2, were analyzed by MLPA (multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification) in a total of 37 unrelated HNPCC-suspected patients whose MLH1/MSH2 genes gave negative results in previous sequencing experiments. An LOH study was performed on six tumors from LGR carriers by combining MLPA to assess LOH at LGR regions and sequencing to examine LOH at 28 SNP markers from the MLH1 and MSH2 genes.
We found six rearrangements in the MSH2 gene (five deletions and dup5-6), and one aberration in the MLH1 gene (del5-6). The MSH2 deletions were of three types (del1, del1-3, del1-7). We detected LOH at the LGR region in the single MLH1 case, which was determined in a previous study to be LOH-negative in the intragenic D3S1611 marker. Three tumors displayed LOH of at least one SNP marker, including two cases that were LOH-negative at the LGR region.
LGRs accounted for 25% of germline MMR mutations identified in 28 Slovakian HNPCC families. A high frequency of LGRs among the MSH2 mutations provides a rationale for a MLPA screening of the Slovakian HNPCC families prior scanning by DNA sequencing. LOH at part of the informative loci confined to the MLH1 or MSH2 gene (heterozygous LGR region, SNP, or microsatellite) is a novel finding and can be regarded as a partial LOH. The conversion begins within the gene, and the details of conversion tracts are discussed for each case.
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is caused by mutations in one of the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, or PMS2 and results in high-level microsatellite instability (MSI-high) in tumours of HNPCC patients. The MSI test is considered reliable for indicating mutations in MLH1 and MSH2, but is questioned for MSH6. Germline mutation analysis was performed in 19 patients with an MSI-high tumour and absence of MSH2 and/or MSH6 protein as determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC), without an MLH1 or MSH2 mutation, and in 76 out of 295 patients suspected of HNPCC, with a non-MSI-high colorectal cancer (CRC). All 295 non-MSI-high CRCs were analysed for presence of MSH6 protein by IHC. In 10 patients with an MSI-high tumour without MSH2 and/or MSH6 expression, a pathogenic MSH6 mutation was detected, whereas no pathogenic MSH6 mutation was detected in 76 patients with a non-MSI-high CRC and normal MSH6 protein expression. In none of the 295 CRCs loss of MSH6 protein expression was detected. The prevalence of a germline MSH6 mutation is very low in HNPCC suspected patients with non-MSI-high CRC. Microsatellite instability analysis in CRCs is highly sensitive to select patients for MSH6 germline mutation analysis.
MSI; HNPCC; hereditary cancer; MSH6
BACKGROUND—Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is one of the most common inherited disorders predisposing to cancer. The genes responsible for the disease have recently been cloned and characterised; their mutations induce a generalised genomic instability which is particularly evident at microsatellite loci (replication error (RER)+ phenotype).
AIMS—To investigate how to select individuals and families in the general population who should be screened for constitutional mutations predisposing to colorectal cancer.
PATIENTS/METHODS—Between 1984 and 1995, 1899 colorectal malignancies in 1831 patients were registered, and in 1721 of these (94%), family trees could be obtained. Patients and families were classified into five categories according to a more or less likely genetic basis: HNPCC; "suspected" HNPCC; juvenile cases; aspecific cancer aggregation; sporadic cases. In 18 families with HNPCC as well as in 18 with suspected HNPCC, microsatellite instability in tumour tissues and constitutional mutations of two DNA mismatch repair genes (MSH2 and MLH1) could be evaluated. RER status was studied with five markers (BAT40, D2S123, D18S57, D17S787, and BAT26) in paraffin embedded tissues. Germline mutations of MSH2 or MLH1 genes were assessed on DNA and RNA extracted from lymphomonocytic cells, using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, single strand conformation polymorphism analysis, and direct DNA sequencing.
RESULTS—HNPCC represented 2.6% and suspected HNPCC 4.6% of all registered colorectal neoplasms. Eleven out of 18 HNPCC families (61%) showed microsatellite instability as opposed to four (of 18) suspected HNPCC (22%; p<0.02). Three germline mutations (two in MSH2 and one in MLH1 gene) were found in three different large HNPCC families, whereas no mutations were detected in suspected HNPCC.
CONCLUSIONS—In this study of cancer genetic epidemiology, data from a tumour registry were analysed and this ultimately led to the identification and selection of families that should be tested for mutator gene mutations. With the use of a population based approach, the incidence of mutations was appreciably lower than previously reported and limited to families with full blown HNPCC. It is possible that in most families with a clinical spectrum of HNPCC (or suspected HNPCC) other DNA mismatch repair genes are involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.
Keywords: colorectal cancer; hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; DNA repair genes; mutation; microsatellite loci
There is increased incidence of microsatellite instability (MSI) in patients who develop multiple primary colorectal cancers (CRC), although the association with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) is unclear. This study aims to evaluate the underlying genetic cause of MSI in these patients. Microsatellite instability was investigated in 111 paraffin-embedded CRCs obtained from 78 patients with metachronous and synchronous cancers, and a control group consisting of 74 cancers from patients with a single CRC. Tumours were classified as high level (MSI-H), low level (MSI-L) or stable (MSS). MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 gene expression was measured by immunohistochemistry. Methylation of the MLH1 promoter region was evaluated in MSI-H cancers that failed to express MLH1, and mutational analysis performed in MSI-H samples that expressed MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 proteins. The frequency of MSI-H was significantly greater in the multiple, 58 out of 111 (52%), compared to the single cancers, 10 out of 74 (13.5%), P<0.01. Of the 32 patients from whom two or more cancers were analysed, eight (25%) demonstrated MSI-H in both cancers, 13 (41%) demonstrated MSI-H in one cancer and 11 (34%) failed to demonstrate any MSI-H. MSI-H single cancers failed to express MLH1 or MSH2 in seven out of nine (78%) cases and MSI-L/MSS cancers failed to express MLH1 or MSH2 in one out of 45 (2.2%) cases, all cancers expressed MSH6. MSI-H multiple cancers failed to express MLH1 or MSH2 in 21 out of 43 (48%) cases and MSI-L/MSS cancers failed to express MLH1 or MSH2 in four out of 32 (12.5%) cases. MSH6 expression was lost in five MSI-H multiple cancers, four of which also failed to express MLH1 or MSH2. Loss of expression of the same mismatch repair (MMR) gene was identified in both cancers from six out of 19 (31%) patients. Methylation was identified in 11 out of 17 (65%) multiple and three out of six (50%) single MSI-H cancers that failed to express MLH1. Mutational analysis of 10 MSI-H multiple cancers that expressed MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 failed to demonstrate mutations in the MLH1 or MSH2 genes. We suggest that, although MSI-H is more commonly identified in those with multiple colorectal cancers, this does not commonly arise from a classical HNPCC pathway.
microsatellite instability; synchronous colorectal cancer; metachronous colorectal cancer
Background: According to the international criteria for hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) diagnostics, cancer patients with a family history or early onset of colorectal tumours showing high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) should receive genetic counselling and be offered testing for germline mutations in DNA repair genes, mainly MLH1 and MSH2. Recently, an oncogenic V600E hotspot mutation within BRAF, a kinase encoding gene from the RAS/RAF/MAPK pathway, has been found to be associated with sporadic MSI-H colon cancer, but its association with HNPCC remains to be further clarified.
Methods: BRAF-V600E mutations were analysed by automatic sequencing in colorectal cancers from 206 sporadic cases with MSI-H and 111 HNPCC cases with known germline mutations in MLH1 and MSH2. In addition, 45 HNPCC cases showing abnormal immunostaining for MSH2 were also analysed.
Results: The BRAF-V600E hotspot mutation was found in 40% (82/206) of the sporadic MSI-H tumours analysed but in none of the 111 tested HNPCC tumours or in the 45 cases showing abnormal MSH2 immunostaining.
Conclusions: Detection of the V600E mutation in a colorectal MSI-H tumour argues against the presence of a germline mutation in either the MLH1 or MSH2 gene. Therefore, screening of these mismatch repair (MMR) genes can be avoided in cases positive for V600E if no other significant evidence, such as fulfilment of the strict Amsterdam criteria, suggests MMR associated HNPCC. In this context, mutation analysis of the BRAF hotspot is a reliable, fast, and low cost strategy which simplifies genetic testing for HNPCC.
Germline mutations in the MSH2 and MLH1 mismatch repair genes account for most cases of hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer syndrome (HNPCC). In addition, germline MSH2 and MLH1 mutations have been detected in patients with non-HNPCC early onset colorectal cancer. Germline MSH6 mutations appear to be rare in classical HNPCC families, but their frequency in young colorectal cancer cases has not been studied previously. In a population based study of early onset colorectal cancer (<50 years) investigated for tumour microsatellite instability (MSI), we identified a subgroup of tumours with MSI for mono- but not dinucleotide repeat markers (m-MSI+ group). In contrast to tumours with classical MSI for dinucleotide markers (d-MSI+), the m-MSI+ group cancers were mainly left sided (6/7). As MSH6 mutations in yeast and human cell lines are associated with weak (and preferential mononucleotide) MSI, the complete MSH6 gene coding region was sequenced in blood DNA from the five m-MSI+ cases available for analysis. A germline nonsense mutation was identified in an isolated case of early onset colorectal cancer (age 43 years). These results support previous findings that germline MSH6 mutations may not be associated with classical MSI and suggest a role for germline MSH6 mutations in isolated early onset colorectal cancer.
Keywords: mononucleotide microsatellite instability; germline MSH6 mutation analysis; early onset colorectal cancer
Germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair genes (MLH1, MSH2, PMS1, PMS2, and MSH6) predispose to hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). In the absence of pathognomonic clinical features, diagnosis of HNPCC is often based on family history. Microsatellite instability (MSI) analysis has successfully been used for screening colorectal cancer patients for HNPCC. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a recently introduced logistical model based on family history data in detecting HNPCC patients with germline mutations. A series of 509 kindreds with a proband with colorectal cancer was studied. MSI analysis and subsequent germline mutation analysis (MLH1 and MSH2) in MSI positive patients had been performed previously. Of the 509 patients, 63 (12%) were MSI positive and 10 (2%) had a germline mutation in MLH1 or MSH2. The power of the logistical model was tested to determine its value in predicting the probability of a germline mutation. The model proposed a high probability in three out of 10 mutation positive cases when data on cancer in first degree relatives were considered (typically three generation pedigrees, consisting, on average, of eight people). Using extended pedigrees and family cancer data in the 10 mutation positive kindreds (an average of 38 family members available), the model suggested high probabilities in seven out of 10 mutation positive cases. We conclude that for the model to predict germline mutation cases, extensive pedigrees and family history data are required. When screening colorectal cancer patients for HNPCC, a model using a combination of family information and MSI has optimal specificity and sensitivity.
Keywords: HNPCC; screening; MSI; colon cancer
Background & objectives:
DNA mismatch repair gene (MMR) abnormalities are seen in 95 per cent of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and 10-15 per cent of sporadic colorectal cancers. There are no data on MMR abnormalities in Malaysian colorectal cancer patients. This study was aimed to determine the frequency of abnormal MMR gene protein expression in colorectal carcinoma in Northern Peninsular Malaysia using immunohistochemistry.
Clinicopathological information was obtained from 148 patients’ records who underwent bowel resection for colorectal cancer (CRC) at the three hospitals in Malaysia. Immunohistochemistry for MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 proteins were performed on paraffin embedded tissue containing carcinoma.
A total of 148 subjects and 150 colorectal carcinomas of sporadic and hereditary types were assessed. Three patients had synchronous tumours. Twenty eight cancers (18.6%) from 26 subjects (17.6%) had absent immunohistochemical expression of any one of the MMR gene proteins. This comprised absent MLH1 only – 3 cancers, absent MSH2 only – 3, absent MSH6 only – 2, absent PMS2 only – 3, absent MLH1 and PMS2 – 14, absent MSH2 and MSH6 – 2 and absent MLH1, MSH6 and PMS2 – 1. There was significant association between abnormal MMR gene protein expression and proximal colon cancers, mucinous, signet ring and poorly differentiated morphology.
Interpretation & conclusions:
Cancers with abnormal MMR gene expression were associated with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) phenotype. About 15 per cent demonstrated absent MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 protein expression in isolation or in combination with other MMR genes, which often predicts a germline mutation, synonymous with a diagnosis of HNPCC. This appears to be high frequency compared to reported data.
Colorectal carcinoma; Malaysia; mismatch repair gene protein
Background: Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant cancer syndrome, characterised by familial aggregation of HNPCC related cancers, germline mutations in mismatch repair genes, and/or microsatellite instability (MSI) in tumour tissue.
Aim: To estimate the frequency of HNPCC among non-selected Danish patients with colorectal cancer (CRC), and to evaluate the value of MSI analysis as a pre-screen test.
Methods: This was a prospective population based study on consecutive CRC patients. A family history of malignancy was obtained and suspected HNPCC cases were screened for hMLH1/hMSH2 mutations and subjected to MSI analysis. Patients with germline mutations and/or those with Amsterdam criteria I or II families were categorised as HNPCC patients.
Results: Among 1328 eligible CRC patients, 1200 (90.4%) completed a questionnaire. A total of 1.7% (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0–2.4) (20 cases) were categorised as HNPCC patients. Amsterdam criteria I or II were met in 18 cases (1.5%), and in another two cases (0.2%) pathogenic hMLH1/hMSH2 mutations were detected without fulfilment of the Amsterdam criteria I or II. Among 77 patients younger than 50 years of age, 11 cases (14.3%) were categorised as HNPCC. The Amsterdam criteria I or II were met in eight of 10 gene carriers (80%). The MSI-high phenotype was demonstrated in all 10 gene carriers.
Conclusion: The frequency of HNPCC was approximately 1.7% among all CRC cases and 14.3% among patients younger than 50 years of age. MSI analysis is a reliable pre-screen test for hMLH1/hMSH2 mutations in families suspected of having HNPCC.
hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; colorectal cancer; microsatellite instability; Danish patients
The high-frequency microsatellite instability (MSI-H) phenotype, frequently identified in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), also accounts for approximately 15% of sporadic colorectal cancers. Microsatellite instability (MSI) occurs from the mutational inactivation of the DNA mismatch repair genes, i.e. hMSH2 and hMLH1 in HNPCC, as well as from epigenetic inactivation of hMLH1 in sporadic colorectal tumors. The mutator pathway including microsatellite instability, hMLH1 promoter methylation, and hMSH2 and hMLH1 mutation patterns were identified in 21 sporadic colorectal adenocarcinoma patients younger than 30 yr excluding HNPCC. More than half of tumors showed MSI, with five MSI-H and six MSI-L (low-frequency microsatellite instability). Three of six MSI-H tumors showed the hMLH1 promoter methylation and did not express the hMLH1 protein. On the other hand, all MSI-L and all MSS (microsatellite stable) tumors expressed both hMSH2 and hMLH1 proteins. Two novel mutations, i.e. a missense mutation in hMLH1 and a splice-site alteration in hMSH2, were identified in two patients respectively. Although mutator pathway was implicated in younger-age-onset colorectal carcinogenesis, many tumors appeared to evolve from different genetic events other than hMSH2 and hMLH1 mutations frequently identified in HNPCC.
Hereditary Non-polyposis Colon Cancer Syndrome (HNPCC) is the most common cause of familial colorectal cancer. Molecular genetic studies of HNPCC have shown evidence of locus heterogeneity, and mutations in four genes (hMSH2, hMLH1, hPMS1, and hPMS2) which encode components of the mismatch enzyme repair system may cause HNPCC. To determine the extent and nature of locus heterogeneity in HNPCC, we performed genetic linkage studies in 14 HNPCC families from eastern and north-western England. Linkage to hMLH1 was excluded in six families, each of which were likely to be linked to hMSH2 (lod score > 1.0 in each family and total lod score for all six families = 7.64). Linkage to hMSH2 was excluded in three families, each of which were likely to be linked to hMLH1 (lod score > 1.0 in each family and total lod score at hMLH1 for all three families = 3.93). In the remaining five families linkage to hMSH2 or hMLH1 could not be excluded. These results confirm locus heterogeneity in HNPCC and suggest that, in the population studied, most large families with HNPCC will have mutations in hMSH2 or hMLH1. We did not detect any correlation between clinical phenotype and the genetic linkage results, but a Muir-Torre syndrome family excluded from linkage to hMLH1 was likely to be linked to hMSH2 and showed microsatellite instability in a tumour from an affected relative.
BACKGROUND—Clinical diagnosis of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is based on a typical family history. As molecular genetic testing is predominantly restricted to these families, gene carriers not meeting the clinical criteria may be missed.
AIMS—To examine the value of microsatellite instability (MSI) as a tool to increase the likelihood for uncovering a mismatch repair germline mutation in patients with colorectal cancer and to identify a genotype-phenotype relation in families with verified mutations.
METHODS—Systematic search for germline mutations (hMSH2 and hMLH1 genes) was performed in 96 patients: 57 fulfilled the Amsterdam criteria (group 1) and 12 the looser HNPCC criteria (group 2). Seventeen patients showed familial clustering of cancers (group 3) and 10 patients under 50 years had sporadic cancer (group 4), the latter of whom all exhibited MSI+ tumours.
RESULTS—A similar proportion of germline mutations was found in patients who fulfilled the clinical criteria of HNPCC and had MSI+ tumours (groups 1 and 2; 15/39) compared with patients who did not meet these clinical criteria but who had MSI+ tumours (groups 3 and 4; 8/27 patients). Affected relatives of patients with hMLH1 mutations showed a significantly higher frequency of colorectal cancer but a lower frequency of endometrium cancer than those with hMSH2 mutations.
CONCLUSIONS—MSI in tumour tissue is a useful criterion for selecting patients who should be tested for germline mutations in the mismatch repair genes hMSH2 and hMLH1 irrespective of their family history. Among carriers of hMSH2 mutations the tumour spectrum was broader than among carriers of hMLH1 mutations.
Keywords: hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; sporadic colorectal cancer; microsatellite instability; germline mutations; genotype phenotype relation
Patients with early‐onset colorectal cancer (CRC) or those with multiple tumours associated with hereditary non‐polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) raise suspicion of the presence of germline DNA mismatch repair (MMR) gene mutations.
To analyse the value of family history, microsatellite instability (MSI) analysis and MMR protein staining in the tumour to predict the presence of an MMR gene mutation in such patients.
In 281 patients diagnosed with CRC before the age of 50 years or with CRC and at least one additional HNPCC‐associated cancer, germline mutation analysis in MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 was carried out with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and multiplex ligation‐dependent probe amplification. MSI analysis with five consensus markers and MMR protein staining for MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 were carried out in the tumours.
25 pathogenic mutations (8 in MLH1, 9 in MSH2 and 8 in MSH6) were found. MSI analysis missed three and immunohistochemistry (IHC) missed two mutation carriers. Sensitivities of family history, MSI analysis and IHC for the presence of a mutation were 76%, 82% and 88%, specificities were 64%, 70% and 84%, and positive predictive values were 19%, 23% and 38%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed the highest odds ratio for IHC (38.3, 95% confidence interval 9.0 to 184). Prevalence of pathogenic germline MMR gene mutations in patients with CRC before the age of 50 years was 6% and in those with ⩾2 HNPCC‐associated tumours was 22%. In the second group, no mutation carriers were found among the 29 patients who were diagnosed with their first tumour after the age of 60 years.
Family history, MSI analysis and IHC are indicative parameters to select patients with CRC for MMR gene mutation analysis. The data show that IHC is the best single selection criterion.
Background: Colorectal cancer is extremely rare in childhood. Published case series reporting children and adolescents with colorectal cancer have not focused on the underlying genetic aspects of the tumour or genetic susceptibility of the families.
Aims: We examined a cohort of patients with early onset colorectal cancer to determine whether a specific genetic predisposition could be elucidated. In particular, we focused on whether DNA mismatch repair gene deficiency which causes hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) could be elucidated.
Methods: Patients with colorectal cancer ⩽24 years of age were identified from a database at the Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. Detailed pedigrees were ascertained from the proband or parents. Tumours were tested for microsatellite instability, a hallmark of HNPCC. Germline mismatch repair gene mutations (MSH2 and MLH1) were sought in some cases. Clinical data were obtained by chart audit.
Results: Among 1382 probands in our registry, 16 (1%) colorectal cancer patients were 24 years or younger at the time of diagnosis. Microsatellite instability was identified in tumours from eight (73%) of 11 evaluated patients. Germline mutations in mismatch repair genes were identified in six of 12 patients, including MSH2 (n = 3), MLH1 (n = 2), and PMS2 (n = 1). Ten (63%) of 16 families met the Amsterdam criteria for HNPCC. Among these, six were screened for mismatch repair gene mutations and three were found to carry MSH2 or MLH1 germline mutations. Location of the colorectal cancers included rectum/sigmoid (n = 9), splenic flexure (n = 2), hepatic flexure (n = 3), and caecum (n = 2). Forty four per cent (7/16) of these young cases developed additional malignancies (gastrointestinal (n = 8) and extraintestinal (n = 4)) during follow up (mean 12.8 (SD 12.4) years (range 0.08–30)).
Conclusions: Patients with early onset colorectal carcinoma often have an inherited predisposition to the disease. Tumours with high frequency microsatellite instability and germline mutations of mismatch repair genes are sufficiently common in this patient population that they should be considered, even though family histories may not satisfy the stringent Amsterdam criteria for HNPCC. Young colorectal cancer patients are at increased risk of developing second gastrointestinal and extraintestinal malignancies.
colorectal cancer; hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; microsatellite instability; germline mutations; paediatric cancer
AIM: To analyze the frequency of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) in Chinese colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, and to discuss the value of microsatellite instability (MSI) and/or immunohistochemistry (IHC) for MSH2/MLH1 protein analysis as pre-screening tests in China.
METHODS: The Amsterdam criteriaIandII(clinical diagnosis) and/or germline hMLH1/hMSH2 mutations (genetic diagnosis) were used to classify HNPCC families. Genetic tests, including microsatellite instability, immunohistochemistry for MSH2/MLH1 proteins and hMSH2/hMLH1 genes, were performed in each proband.
RESULTS: From July 2000 to June 2004, 1988 patients with colorectal cancer were analysed and 114 CRC patients (5.7%) from 48 families were categorized as having HNPCC, including 76 from 26 families diagnosed clinically and 38 from the other 22 families diagnosed genetically. The sensitivity and specificity of high MSI and IHC for predicting mutations were 100% and 54%, and 79% and 77%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The frequency of HNPCC is approximately 10% among all Chinese CRC cases. The MSI and IHC detections for hMSH2/hMLH1 proteins are reliable pre-screening tests for hMLH1/hMSH2 germline mutations in families suspected of having HNPCC.
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; Colorectal cancer; Mismatch repair gene; Immunohistochemistry; Microsatellite instability
The genetic abnormalities underlying hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) are germline mutations in one of five DNA mismatch repair genes or in the TGFβRII gene. The aim of our study was to evaluate the significance of simple tests performed on tumours to select appropriate candidates for germline mutational analysis. We studied three groups of patients, HNPCC kindreds fulfilling the International Collaborative Group (ICG) criteria (n = 10), families in which at least one of the criteria was not satisfied (n = 7) and sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosed before the age of 50 (n = 17). We searched for microsatellite instability (MSI), presence of hMSH2 and hMLH1 germline mutations, expression of hMSH2, hMLH1 and p53 proteins in tumoural tissue samples by immunostaining. Fifteen out of 17 (88%) of HNPCC and incomplete HNPCC cases were MSI and eight pathogenic germline mutations in hMSH2 or hMLH1 were detected in these two groups (53%). All the 17 early-onset sporadic cases were MSS and no germline mutations were detected among the seven investigated cases. Thirteen out of 15 (81%) familial cases were MSI and p53 protein-negative, whereas 13/14 (93%) sporadic cases were MSS and strongly p53 protein-positive. This extensive molecular investigation shows that simple tests such as MS study combined with hMSH2 and hMLH1 protein immunostaining performed on tumoural tissues may provide valuable information to distinguish between familial, and probably hereditary, and sporadic CRC cases. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
colorectal cancer; hMSH2; hMLH1; predisposition; screening
BACKGROUND AND AIM—Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), as its name implies, is associated with few adenomas, and the early evolution of colorectal neoplasia is poorly understood. In this study our aim was to clarify the genetic profiles of benign polyps in subjects with HNPCC using a combined molecular and immunohistochemical approach.
METHODS—Thirty adenomas and 17 hyperplastic polyps were obtained from 24 affected HNPCC subjects. DNA was extracted from paraffin embedded tissue by microdissection and analysed for the presence of microsatellite instability (MSI) and mutations in five genes known to be targets in mismatch repair deficiency (TGFβRII, IGF2R, BAX, hMSH3, and hMSH6). Serial sections were stained by immunohistochemistry for hMLH1 and hMSH2.
RESULTS—Twenty four (80%) of 30 adenomas showed MSI. Of MSI positive adenomas, 66.7% showed MSI at more than 40% of markers (high level of MSI (MSI-H)). Two of 17 hyperplastic polyps revealed MSI at one marker (low level of MSI (MSI-L)). A significant association was found between MSI-H and high grade dysplasia in adenomas (p=0.004). Eight of nine adenomas with mutations of coding sequences revealed high grade dysplasia and all nine were MSI-H. Four of the nine ranged in size from 2 to 5 mm. The presence of the hMSH6 mutation was significantly correlated with high levels of MSI (80% of markers) (p<0.02). Twenty four adenomas gave evaluable results with immunohistochemistry. One of six (17%) microsatellite stable, six of seven (86%) MSI-L, and 11 of 11 (100%) MSI-H adenomas showed loss of either hMLH1 or hMSH2.
CONCLUSIONS—Most adenomas in subjects with a definite diagnosis of HNPCC show MSI (80%). The finding of MSI-L is usually associated with loss of expression of hMLH1 or hMSH2, unlike the situation in MSI-L sporadic colorectal cancer. The transition from MSI-L to MSI-H correlated with the finding of high grade dysplasia and mutation of coding sequences and may be driven by mutation of secondary mutators such as hMSH3 and hMSH6. Advanced genetic changes may be present in adenomas of minute size.
Keywords: adenoma; microsatellite instability; mismatch repair; hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
AIM: To explore the clinicopathological and molecular genetic features of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) in Chinese population.
METHODS: We collected 16 Chinese HNPCC families from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Tumor tissues and peripheral white blood cells were studied using microdissection, microsatellite analysis, immunostaining of hMSH2 and hMLH1 proteins and direct DNA sequencing of hMSH2 and hMLH1 genes.
RESULTS: (1) A total of 50 patients had CRC. Average age at diagnosis of the first CRC was 45.7 years; 40.9% and 28.7% of the CRCs were located proximal to the splenic flexure and in the rectum, respectively. Thirty-eight percent of the colorectal cancer patients had synchronous and metachronous CRC. 34.4% and 25% of the CRCs were poor differentiation cancer and mucinous adenocarcinoma, respectively. Fourteen extracoloni tumors were found, and the hepatic cancer was the most common tumor type. Twenty-one patients whose median survival time was 5.7 years died during 1-23 years. Twenty-nine patients have survived for 1-28 years, 58.6%, 41.4% and 24.1% patients have survived for more than 5, 10 and 15 years, respectively; (2) All nine tumor-tissues showed microsatellite instability (MSI) at more than two loci. Four tumor-tissues lost hMSH2 protein expression and one lost hMLH1 protein expression. Three pathological germline mutations were identified from five genetically analyzed families; two of three mutations had not been reported previously as they were a transition from C to A in exon 14 (codon 743) of hMSH2 and a TTC deletion in exon 14 (codon 530) of hMLH1.
CONCLUSION: Chinese HNPCC have specific clinicopathological features, such as early onset, propensity to involve the proximal colon, and high frequency of multiple CRCs, liver cancer more frequent than endometrial cancer. Chinese HNPCC showed relatively frequent germline mutation of mismatch repair (MMR) genes that correlated closely with high-level MSI and loss of expression of MMR genes protein.
Colorectal neoplasms; Hereditary nonpolyposis; Sequence analysis; Microsatellite instability; Mutation; Immunohistochemistry
Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) is a heterogeneous group of tumour predisposition syndromes caused by germline mutations in at least four different mismatch repair genes. HNPCC patients are prone to the development of carcinomas of the intestinal tract and other specific sites. Identification of presumptive HNPCC patients is primarily based on a positive family history of colorectal cancer in at least two generations. In the course of mutation screening of the MLH1 and MSH2 genes in patients manifesting a carcinoma of the HNPCC tumour spectrum before the age of 45 years, we identified a germline MSH2 344delA frameshift mutation in a male proband. This index patient, at the age of 25 years, initially developed a large rectal adenoma that was removed by polypectomy. Ten years later he was operated on for an invasive right sided colon carcinoma in the caecum (International Union Against Cancer (UICC) stage III). The mother and father, aged 61 and 66 years, respectively, were healthy and had no family history of colorectal cancer. Subsequent molecular analyses excluded the germinal MSH2 344delA alteration identified in their son and at the same time paternity was confirmed with a set of informative polymorphic markers. Thus, the genetic alteration identified in our patient definitely represented a de novo germline mutation in one of the major HNPCC genes. This case report of a patient with colorectal cancer at a relatively young age with no family history is intended to encourage mutation screening of the MSH2 and MLH1 genes in similar cases to find out whether this group of patients contains an increased proportion of de novo mutations in mismatch repair genes.
Keywords: HNPCC; MSH2; mutation
Colorectal, endometrial and upper urinary tract tumours are characteristic for Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon carcinoma, HNPCC). The aim of the present study was to establish whether carriers of mutations in mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2 or MSH6 are at increased risk of urinary bladder cancer.
Carriers and first degree relatives of 95 families with a germline mutation in the MLH1 (n=26), MSH2 (n=43), or MSH6 (n=26) gene were systematically questioned about the occurrence of carcinoma. The cumulative risk of cancer occurring before the age of 70 years (CR70) was compared to the CR70 of the general Dutch population. Microsatellite instability (MSI) testing and/or immunohistochemistry (IHC) for mismatch repair proteins was performed on bladder tumour tissue.
Bladder cancer was diagnosed in 21 patients (90% men) from 19 Lynch syndrome families (2 MLH1, 15 MSH2, and 4 MSH6). CR70 for bladder cancer was 7.5% (95% CI 3.1% to 11.9%) for men and 1.0% (95% CI 0% to 2.4%) for women, resulting in relative risks for mutation carriers and first degree relatives of 4.2 (95% CI 2.2 to 7.2) for men and 2.2 (95% CI 0.3 to 8.0) for women. Men carrying an MSH2 mutation and their first degree relatives were at highest risks: CR70 for bladder and upper urinary tract cancer being 12.3% (95% CI 4.3% to 20.3%) and 5.9% (95% CI 0.7% to 11.1%). Bladder cancer tissue was MSI positive in 6/7 tumours and loss of IHC staining was found in 14/17 tumours, indicating Lynch syndrome aetiology.
Patients with Lynch syndrome carrying an MSH2 mutation are at increased risk of urinary tract cancer including bladder cancer. In these cases surveillance should be considered.
Lynch syndrome; HNPCC; urothelial cancer; bladder cancer; MSI; gastroenterology; clinical genetics; genetic screening/counselling; cancer: urological
Background: Germline mutations in the mismatch repair (MMR) genes hMLH1 and hMSH2 can cause hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). However, the functional in vitro analysis of hMLH1 and hMSH2 mutations remains difficult.
Aims: To establish an in vitro method for the functional characterisation of hMLH1 and hMSH2 mutations.
Methods: hMLH1 and hMSH2 wild type (wt) genes and several mutated subclones were transiently transfected in mismatch repair deficient cell lines (HCT-116 and LOVO). Apoptosis, proliferation, and regulation of mRNA expression and protein expression of interacting proteins were analysed by Hoechst staining, AlamarBlue staining, real time polymerase chain reaction, and western blotting, respectively.
Results: The protein expression of hMLH1 and hMSH2 mutants was significantly decreased after transfection compared with wild type transfections. The hMLH1 and hMSH2 interacting proteins hPMS2 and hMSH6 became detectable only after transfection of the respective wild type genes. In parallel, hMSH6 mRNA levels were increased in hMSH2 wt transfected cells. However, hPMS2 mRNA levels were independent of the mutation status of its interacting partner hMLH1, indicating a post-transcriptional regulating pathway. In the hMLH1 deficient HCT-116 cell line apoptosis was not affected by transfection of any mismatch repair gene, whereas complementation of hMSH2 deficency in LOVO cells increased apoptosis. Conversely, proliferative activity of HCT-116 was decreased by complementation with hMLH1wt and unaffected in hMSH2 deficient LOVO cells.
Conclusion: These data show that the cellular role of the MMR genes and its mutations are assessable in a simple transient transfection system and show the influence of MMR gene regulation on major cell growth regulating mechanisms. This method is applicable for the functional definition of mutations in hMLH1 and hMSH2 genes observed in patients with suspected HNPCC.
mismatch repair genes; hMLH1; hMSH2; colorectal cancer; hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the essential mismatch repair (MMR) endonuclease Mlh1-Pms1 forms foci promoted by Msh2-Msh6 or Msh2-Msh3 in response to mispaired bases. Here we analyzed the Mlh1-Mlh2 complex, whose role in MMR has been unclear. Mlh1-Mlh2 formed foci that often colocalized with and had a longer lifetime than Mlh1-Pms1 foci. Mlh1-Mlh2 foci were similar to Mlh1-Pms1 foci: they required mispair recognition by Msh2-Msh6, increased in response to increased mispairs or downstream defects in MMR, and formed after induction of DNA damage by phleomycin but not double-stranded breaks by I-SceI. Mlh1-Mlh2 could be recruited to mispair-containing DNA in vitro by either Msh2-Msh6 or Msh2-Msh3. Deletion of MLH2 caused a synergistic increase in mutation rate in combination with deletion of MSH6 or reduced expression of Pms1. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the S. cerevisiae Mlh2 protein and the mammalian PMS1 protein are homologs. These results support a hypothesis that Mlh1-Mlh2 is a non-essential accessory factor that acts to enhance the activity of Mlh1-Pms1.
Lynch syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer or HNPCC) is a common cancer predisposition syndrome. In this syndrome, predisposition to cancer results from increased accumulation of mutations due to defective mismatch repair (MMR) caused by a mutation in one of the human mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 or PMS2. In addition to these genes, various DNA replication factors and the excision factor EXO1 function in the repair of damaged DNA by the MMR pathway. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the MLH2 gene encodes a MutL homolog protein whose role in DNA mismatch repair has been unclear. Here, we used phylogenetic analysis to demonstrate that the S. cerevisiae Mlh2 protein and the mammalian Pms1 protein are homologs. A combination of genetics, biochemistry and imaging studies were used to demonstrate that the Mlh1-Mlh2 complex is recruited to mispair-containing DNA by the Msh2-Msh6 and Msh2-Msh3 mispair recognition complexes where it forms foci that colocalize with Mlh1-Pms1 foci (note that scPms1 is the homolog of hPms2) and augments the function of the Mlh1-Pms1 complex. Thus, this work establishes the Mlh1-Mlh2 complex as a non-essential accessory factor that functions in MMR.