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"Frequent microsatellite instability and mismatch repair gene mutations in young Chinese patients with colorectal cancer."

Chan TL, Yuen ST, Chung LP, Ho JW, Kwan KY, Chan AS, Ho JC, Leung SY, Wyllie AH

Published July 21, 1999 in J Natl Cancer Inst volume 91 .

Pubmed ID: 10413423

BACKGROUND: The incidence of colorectal cancer in persons under 46 years of age is substantially higher in Hong Kong than in Scotland and many other countries. Consequently, we examined whether there is a hereditary predisposition for colorectal cancer in this Southern Chinese population. METHODS: We investigated the incidence of microsatellite instability (MSI) at 10 DNA sites in 117 colorectal cancer specimens from Chinese patients of various ages. Those tumors with new alleles at 40% or more of the sites investigated were identified as highly unstable MSI (MSI-H). In young patients, we also searched for germline mutations in three mismatch repair genes (hMSH2, hMLH1, and hMSH6). RESULTS: The incidence of MSI-H varied statistically significantly with age, being observed in more than 60% of those younger than age 31 years at diagnosis and in fewer than 15% of those age 46 years or older. In 15 patients (<46 years old) whose colorectal cancers showed MSI-H, eight possessed germline mutations in either hMSH2 or hMLH1. When mutations in hMSH6 were included, more than 80% of Chinese colorectal cancer patients younger than 31 years had germline mutations in mismatch repair genes. We found a novel germline missense mutation in hMSH6 in a 29-year-old man whose tumor showed no MSI. Two patients had a 4-base-pair insertion in exon 10 causing a truncated protein; this insertion is a common polymorphism with a population allele frequency in Chinese of 5.6%. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that germline mutations in mismatch repair genes contribute substantially to the pathogenesis and high incidence of colorectal cancer in young Hong Kong Chinese. However, because young Chinese and Caucasians show similar proportions of colorectal cancers with MSI-H, despite the higher incidence in the former, additional factors may underlie the high susceptibility of young Chinese to colorectal cancer.

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Last modification of this entry: Oct. 6, 2010

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