Molecular analysis of colorectal cancer tumors from patients with mismatch repair proficient hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer suggests novel carcinogenic pathways.Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Oct 01; 13(19):5729-35.CC
A subset of colorectal cancers (CRC) arises in families that, despite fulfilling clinical criteria for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), do not show evidence of a mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency. The main objective of this study was to characterize these tumors at the molecular level.
After comprehensive germ line mutation scanning, microsatellite analysis, and MMR protein expressions, we selected a well-defined cohort of 57 colorectal tumors with no evidence of MMR defects. In this group of tumors, we analyzed KRAS, BRAF, and APC somatic mutations, as well as methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) and beta-catenin expression. We correlated these alterations with clinicopathologic data and explored the relationship between KRAS G > A transitions and lack of MGMT expression.
The mutation profile at the RAS/RAF/MAPK pathway mimics sporadic microsatellite-stable CRCs. We found an average age of diagnosis 10 years older in KRAS-mutated patients (P = 0.001). In addition, we show that KRAS G > A transitions are actively selected by tumors, regardless of MGMT status. Similarities with HNPCC high-microsatellite instability tumors are observed when APC data are analyzed. The APC mutation rate was low and small insertions/deletions accounted for 70% of the alterations. In addition, we found a low frequency of beta-catenin nuclear staining. Finally, we did not find evidence of tumors arising in individuals from the same family sharing molecular features.
We show evidence that CRC tumors arising in HNPCC families without MMR alterations have distinctive molecular features. Overall, our work shows that systematic analysis of somatic alterations in a well-defined subset of CRCs is a good approach to provide new insights into the mechanisms of colorectal carcinogenesis.