Defective mismatch-repair in patients with multiple primary tumours including colorectal cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Individuals with an inherited predisposition to cancer development are at an increased risk of developing multiple tumours. Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is one of the most common hereditary cancer syndromes and is estimated to account for approximately 2% of colorectal cancers. However, HNPCC individuals are at an increased risk of developing other tumour types such as cancers of the endometrium, urothelium and small intestine. We have utilised a population-based regional cancer registry to identify all patients with double primary colorectal cancers and at least one additional malignancy and characterised the tumour spectrum in this patient group. We subsequently selected those 47 individuals who had developed at least four malignancies, including two colorectal cancers, for studies of the tumour characteristics associated with HNPCC. In total, these individuals developed 209 tumours, 156 of which were successfully retrieved. Microsatellite instability (MSI), a phenomenon caused by defective mismatch-repair (MMR), was identified in 63/154 (41%) evaluable tumours with a MSI-high pattern in 59 and a MSI-low pattern in four tumours. All tumours were immunohistochemically stained for the MMR proteins MLH1 and MSH2, with loss of expression in 55/63 (87%) MSI tumours and in 2/89 (2%) microsatellite stable (MSS) tumours. This loss affected MLH1 in 24 tumours and MSH2 in 33 tumours. A concordant loss of expression for the same MMR protein in several tumours from the same individual, a pattern that strongly suggests an underlying germline MMR gene mutation, was found in 17/45 (38%) patients and affected MLH1 in 8 patients and MSH2 in 9 patients. We conclude that the development of multiple primary tumours, including synchronous or metachronous colorectal cancers, is associated with an increased frequency of MSI and loss of immunohistochemical expression of MLH1 and MSH2.


External organisations
  • Technical University of Munich
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Base Pair Mismatch, Colorectal Neoplasms, Female, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Microsatellite Repeats, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Proteins, Neoplasms, Multiple Primary
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-8
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jan
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Pathology, (Lund) (013030000), Oncology, MV (013035000)