Lynch syndrome screening should be considered for all patients with newly diagnosed endometrial cancer.Am J Surg Pathol. 2014 Nov; 38(11):1501-9.AJ
Lynch syndrome (LS) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder caused by germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. Mutation carriers are at substantially increased risk of developing cancers of the colorectum and endometrium, among others. Given recent recommendations for universal, cost-effective screening of all patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer using MMR protein immunohistochemistry, we evaluated MMR protein expression in a series of endometrial cancers in the general population. A total of 605 consecutive cases of primary endometrial cancer at a single institution (1997 to 2013) were evaluated regardless of age, family history, or histologic features. Evaluation methods consisted of immunohistochemistry for the MMR proteins MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2, followed by DNA methylation analysis for cases with MLH1/PMS2 deficiency. Germline mutation testing was performed on a subset of cases. Forty MMR-deficient, nonmethylated endometrial cancers were identified: 3 MLH1/PMS2 and 37 MSH6/MSH2 protein deficiencies. Only 25% occurred in women below 50 years of age (range, 39 to 88 y), 1 of which was in a risk-reducing hysterectomy specimen. Only 15% of patients had a prior history of carcinoma, including only 2 patients with prior colorectal carcinoma. Most (80%) of the endometrial cancers were purely endometrioid; there were 2 mixed endometrioid/mucinous, 1 mucinous, 1 serous, 2 clear cell, and 2 carcinosarcoma cases. When grading was applicable, 40% of the endometrial malignancies were FIGO grade 1, 34% grade 2, and 26% grade 3. Thirteen percent arose in the lower uterine segment, and 23% had tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Of the tumors with known germline testing, 41% with a LS-associated germline mutation were not associated with any of the traditional indicators that have been recommended for LS screening (ie, age 50 y or younger, personal/family cancer pedigree that meets Bethesda guideline criteria, presence of MMR-associated tumor morphology, or location in the lower uterine segment). These data suggest that a significant number of LS-associated endometrial carcinomas are missed using clinical, histologic, and locational screening parameters and provide support for universal screening of all newly diagnosed endometrial cancers.