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
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
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
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.
Germline mutations in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes MSH2 and MLH1 are responsible for the majority of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), an autosomal-dominant early-onset cancer syndrome. Genetic testing of both MSH2 and MLH1 from individuals suspected of HNPCC has revealed a considerable number of missense codons, which are difficult to classify as either pathogenic mutations or silent polymorphisms. To identify novel MLH1 missense codons that impair MMR activity, a prospective genetic screen in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was developed. The screen utilized hybrid human-yeast MLH1 genes that encode proteins having regions of the yeast ATPase domain replaced by homologous regions from the human protein. These hybrid MLH1 proteins are functional in MMR in vivo in yeast. Mutagenized MLH1 fragments of the human coding region were synthesized by error-prone PCR and cloned directly in yeast by in vivo gap repair. The resulting yeast colonies, which constitute a library of hybrid MLH1 gene variants, were initially screened by semi-quantitative in vivo MMR assays. The hybrid MLH1 genes were recovered from yeast clones that exhibited a MMR defect and sequenced to identify alterations in the mutagenized region. This investigation identified 117 missense codons that conferred a 2-fold or greater decreased efficiency of MMR in subsequent quantitative MMR assays. Notably, 10 of the identified missense codons were equivalent to codon changes previously observed in the human population and implicated in HNPCC. To investigate the effect of all possible codon alterations at single residues, a comprehensive mutational analysis of human MLH1 codons 43 (lysine-43) and 44 (serine-44) was performed. Several amino acid replacements at each residue were silent, but the majority of substitutions at lysine-43 (14/19) and serine-44 (18/19) reduced the efficiency of MMR. The assembled data identifies amino acid substitutions that disrupt MLH1 structure and/or function, and should assist the interpretation of MLH1 genetic tests.
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
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome (HNPCC) is often considered to be the most common form of inherited colorectal cancer, although its precise incidence is unknown. The clinical diagnosis of HNPCC relies on a combination of family history and young age of onset of colorectal cancer, but as many familial aggregations of colorectal cancer do not fulfil the strict diagnostic criteria, HNPCC might be underdiagnosed. The majority of HNPCC families have germline mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes, such as MSH2 or MLH1, so that HNPCC cancers characteristically exhibit DNA replication errors (RERs) at microsatellite loci. Although an RER positive phenotype in tumours can also result from somatic mutations in an MMR gene, the prevalence of RER + tumours should provide a maximum estimate of the incidence of germline MMR gene mutations in patients with early onset and familial colorectal cancer. We investigated colorectal cancers for RERs from (1) a population based study of 33 patients with colorectal cancer aged 45 years or less, (2) 65 kindreds with familial colorectal cancer which only partially fulfilled the criteria for the diagnosis of HNPCC, and (3) 18 cancers from 12 HNPCC kindreds. Seven of 33 patients (21%) with colorectal cancer aged 45 years or less had an RER + cancer, with only two of these having a clear family history of HNPCC. A greater proportion of RER + tumours (5/7) occurred proximal to the splenic flexure than RER - tumours (4/26; chi2 = 6.14, p < 0.025). RERs were detected in all 18 cancers from HNPCC patients but in only six of 65 non-HNPCC familial colorectal cancer kindreds (9%; chi2 = 52.2, p < 0.0005). These findings suggest that most cancers in patients diagnosed at 45 years of age or less and familial aggregations of colorectal cancer which do not fulfil HNPCC diagnostic criteria do not have germline mutations in MSH2 and MLH1. Hence population screening for germline mutations in these genes is unlikely to be an efficient strategy for identifying people at high risk of developing colorectal cancer.
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.
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
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
Some cases of endometrial cancer are associated with a familial tumor and are referred to as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC or Lynch syndrome). Such tumors are thought to be induced by germline mutation of the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) gene, but many aspects of the pathology of familial endometrial cancer are unclear and no effective screening method has been established. However, the pathology of endometrial cancer with familial tumor has been progressively clarified in recent studies. At present, about 0.5% of all cases of endometrial cancers meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for HNPCC. A recent analysis of the three MMR genes (hMLH1, hMSH2 and hMSH6) revealed germline mutations in 18 of 120 cases (15.0%) of endometrial cancer with familial accumulation of cancer or double cancer, with a frameshift mutation of the hMSH6 gene being the most common. Many cases with mutation did not meet the current clinical diagnostic criteria for HNPCC, indicating that familial endometrial cancer is often not diagnosed as HNPCC. The results suggest that the hMSH6 gene mutation may be important in carcinogenesis in endometrial cancer and germline mutations of the MMR gene may be more prevalent in cases associated with familial accumulation of cancer. An international large-scale muticenter study is required to obtain further information about the pathology of endometrial cancer as a familial tumor.
HNPCC; Endometrial cancer; DNA mismatch repair gene; hMLH1; hMSH6.
Most hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) patients inherit a defective allele of a mismatch repair (MMR) gene, usually MLH1 or MSH2, resulting in high levels of microsatellite instability (MSIH) in the tumors. Presence of MSI in the normal tissues of mutation carriers has been controversial. Here we directly compare MSI in the peripheral blood leukocyte (PBL) DNA of seven HNPCC patients carrying different types of pathogenic MMR mutations in MLH1 and MSH2 genes with the PBL DNA of normal age-matched controls and of patients with sporadic colorectal cancer (SCRC). Small pool PCR (SP-PCR) was used studying three microsatellite loci for at least 100 alleles each in most samples. The average frequencies of mutant microsatellite fragments in each HNPCC patient (0.04–0.24) were significantly higher (p<0.01) relative to their age-matched normal controls with mutant frequencies (MF) from 0.00 to 0.06, or SCRC patients (MF from 0.01–0.03). The data support the conclusions that higher MF in the PBL DNA of HNPCC patients is real and reproducible, may vary in extent according to the type of germline MMR mutation and the age of the individual, and provide a possible genetic explanation for anticipation in HNPCC families.
microsatellite instability; genomic instability; HNPCC; Lynch Syndrome; colorectal cancer; MLH1; MSH2; single molecule PCR; somatic mutation; variants of uncertain significance
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.
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.
Muir-Torre Syndrome (MTS) is a rare autosomal-dominant disorder characterized by the predisposition to both sebaceous neoplasm and internal malignancies. MTS-associated sebaceous neoplasms reveal mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes and microsatellite instability. A significant part of MTS patients represents a phenotypic variant, the hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). A strong correlation between microsatellite instability and immunostaining has been demonstrated. The early recognition of sebaceous neoplasm as part of MTS, and their differentiation from sporadic sebaceous neoplasm may have an important application in a clinical setting. The absence of MLH-1 or MSH-2 expression by immunostaining identifies tumors with mismatch repair deficiency.
Our aim is to determine whether an immunohistochemical approach, targeting DNA repair proteins MSH-2 and MLH-1 in MTS-related sebaceous neoplasm and their sporadic counterparts, can be used for their identification.
We examined 15 sebaceous neoplasms (including 6 internal malignancy- associated sebaceous neoplasms and 8 sporadic sebaceous neoplasms) from 11 patients for the expression of MSH-2 and MLH-1 by immunohistochemistry.
Four of 5 internal malignancy-associated sebaceous neoplasms showed loss of expression of MSH-2 or MLH-1. Correlation of the immunostaining pattern of the sebaceous neoplasms and the patients’ positive history of colon carcinoma was 80%. Seven of 8 sporadic sebaceous neoplasms showed a positive expression of MSH-2 and MLH-1. The prevalence for loss of expression of MMR proteins in sebaceous neoplasms was 38.5%. MMR immunostaining had 87.5% specificity and 80% sensitivity.
This study is limited by a small sample size, and by bias selection due to the use of non nationwide data-base as the resource of cases.
Our findings demonstrate that immunohistochemical testing for internal malignancy-associated sebaceous neoplasms is a practical approach to confirm a suspected inherited MMR gene defect, and an accurate method to distinguish between sporadic and MTS-associated sebaceous lesions.
Immunohistochemistry; DNA mismatch repair; Sebaceous neoplasm; Muir-Torre syndrome; MSH-2
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
Hereditary non polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is characterized by the presence of early onset colorectal cancer and other epithelial malignancies. The genetic basis of HNPCC is a deficiency in DNA mismatch repair, which manifests itself as DNA microsatellite instability in tumours. There are four genes involved in DNA mismatch repair that have been linked to HNPCC; these include hMSH2, hMLH1, hMSH6 and hPMS2. Of these four genes hMLH1 and hMSH2 account for the majority of families diagnosed with the disease. Notwithstanding, up to 40 percent of families do not appear to harbour a change in either hMSH2 or hMLH1 that can be detected using standard screening procedures such as direct DNA sequencing or a variety of methods all based on a heteroduplex analysis.
In this report we have screened a series of 118 probands that all have the clinical diagnosis of HNPCC for medium to large deletions by the Multiplex Ligation-Dependent Probe Amplification assay (MLPA) to determine the frequency of this type of mutation. The results indicate that a significant proportion of Australian HNPCC patients harbour deletion or duplication mutations primarily in hMSH2 but also in hMLH1.
HNPCC; deletion mutations; multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay
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: Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is caused by germline mutations of mismatch repair genes, usually in hMLH1 or hMSH2. All earlier studies on penetrance except one population based study were conducted in HNPCC families and did not correct for the way in which these families were ascertained.
Objective: To obtain estimates of the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer (EC) for carriers of disease causing mutations of the hMSH2 and hMLH1 genes.
Methods: Families with known germline mutations of hMLH1 (n = 39) and hMSH2 (n = 45) were extracted from the Dutch HNPCC cancer registry. Ascertainment-corrected maximum likelihood estimation was carried out on a competing risks model for cancer of the colorectum and endometrium.
Results: Both loci were analysed jointly as there was no significant difference in risk (p = 0.08). At age 70, colorectal cancer risk for men was 26.7% (95% confidence interval, 12.6% to 51.0%) and for women, 22.4% (10.6% to 43.8%); the risk for endometrial cancer was 31.5% (11.1% to 70.3%).
Conclusions: Current estimates of the CRC risk of mutations to the hMLH1 and hMSH2 locus should be replaced by considerably lower risks which account for the selection of the families.
AIM: To study the characteristics of mismatch repair gene mutation of Chinese hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and hMLH1 gene promoter methylation, and to improve the screening strategy and explore the pertinent test methods.
METHODS: A systematic analysis of 30 probands from HNPCC families in the north of China was performed by immunohistochemistry, microsatellite instability (MSI), gene mutation and methylation detection.
RESULTS: High frequency microsatellite instability occurred in 25 probands (83.3%) of HNPCC family. Loss of hMLH1 and hMSH2 protein expression accounted for 88% of all microsatellite instability. Pathogenic mutation occurred in 14 samples and 3 novel mutational sites were discovered. Deletion of exons 1-6, 1-7 and 8 of hMSH2 was detected in 3 samples and no large fragment deletion was found in hMLH1. Of the 30 probands, hMLH1 gene promoter methylation occurred in 3 probands. The rate of gene micromutation detection combined with large fragment deletion detection was 46.7%-56.7%. The rate of the two methods in combination with methylation detection was 63.3%.
CONCLUSION: Scientific and rational detection strategy can improve the detection rate of HNPCC. Based on traditional molecular genetics and combined with epigenetics, multiple detection methods can accurately diagnose HNPCC.
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer; Gene mutation; Mismatch repair; hMSH2; hMLH1; Large fragment deletion; Methylation
Hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) is an autosomal dominant syndrome predisposing to the early development of various cancers including those of colon, rectum, endometrium, ovarium, small bowel, stomach and urinary tract. HNPCC is caused by germline mutations in the DNA mismatch repair genes, mostly hMSH2 or hMLH1.
In this study, we report the analysis for genetic counseling of three first-degree relatives (the mother and two sisters) of a male who died of colorectal adenocarcinoma at the age of 23. The family fulfilled strict Amsterdam-I criteria (AC-I) with the presence of extracolonic tumors in the extended pedigree. We overcame the difficulty of having a proband post-mortem non-tumor tissue sample for MSI testing by studying the alleles carried by his progenitors.
Tumor MSI testing is described as initial screening in both primary and metastasis tumor tissue blocks, using the reference panel of 5 microsatellite markers standardized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the screening of HNPCC (BAT-25, BAT-26, D2S123, D5S346 and D17S250). Subsequent mutation analysis of the hMLH1 and hMSH2 genes was performed.
Three of five microsatellite markers (BAT-25, BAT-26 and D5S346) presented different alleles in the proband's tumor as compared to those inherited from his parents. The tumor was classified as high frequency microsatellite instability (MSI-H). We identified in the HNPCC family a novel germline missense (c.1864C>A) mutation in exon 12 of hMSH2 gene, leading to a proline 622 to threonine (p.Pro622Thr) amino acid substitution.
This approach allowed us to establish the tumor MSI status using the NCI recommended panel in the absence of proband's non-tumor tissue and before sequencing the obligate carrier. According to the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD) and the International Society for Gastrointestinal Hereditary Tumors (InSiGHT) Database this is the first report of this mutation.
Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOCS) and Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer Syndrome (HNPCC, Lynch Syndrome) are two tumor predisposition syndromes responsible for the majority of hereditary breast and colorectal cancers. Carriers of both germline mutations in breast cancer genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 and in mismatch repair (MMR) genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 or PMS2 are very rare.
We identified germline mutations in BRCA1 and in MSH6 in a patient with increased risk for HBOC diagnosed with endometrial cancer at the age of 46 years.
Although carriers of mutations in both MMR and BRCA genes are rare in Caucasian populations and anamnestical and histopathological findings may guide clinicians to identify these families, both syndromes can only be diagnosed through a complete gene analysis of the respective genes.
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
MLH1 is one of six known genes responsible for DNA mismatch repair (MMR), whose inactivation leads to HNPCC. It is important to develop genotype-phenotype correlations for HNPCC, as is being done for other hereditary cancer syndromes, in order to guide surveillance and treatment strategies in the future.
We report a 47 year-old male with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) associated with a novel germline mutation in MLH1. This patient expressed a rare and severe phenotype characterized by three synchronous primary carcinomas: ascending and splenic flexure colon adenocarcinomas, and ureteral carcinoma. Ureteral neoplasms in HNPCC are most often associated with mutations in MSH2 and rarely with mutations in MLH1. The reported mutation is a two base pair insertion into exon 10 (c.866_867insCA), which results in a premature stop codon.
Our case demonstrates that HNPCC patients with MLH1 mutations are also at risk for ureteral neoplasms, and therefore urological surveillance is essential. This case adds to the growing list of disease-causing MMR mutations, and contributes to the development of genotype-phenotype correlations essential for assessing individual cancer risk and tailoring of optimal surveillance strategies. Additionally, our case draws attention to limitations of the Amsterdam Criteria and the need to maintain a high index of suspicion when newly diagnosed colorectal cancer meets the Bethesda Criteria. Establishment of the diagnosis is the crucial first step in initiating appropriate surveillance for colorectal cancer and other HNPCC-associated tumors in at-risk individuals.
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