, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 365-373
Date: 11 Jan 2008

Clinicopathologic and molecular features of sporadic microsatellite- and chromosomal-stable colorectal cancers

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Background and aims

Chromosomal instability (CIN) and microsatellite instability (MSI) are two major causes of colorectal cancers. Recently, a percentage of colorectal cancers were found to be neither CIN nor MSI. This study was performed to explore whether microsatellite- and chromosomal-stable (MACS) colorectal cancers comprise a substantially distinct subtype.

Materials and methods

Sixty-nine sporadic colorectal cancers were classified into three subsets according to ploidy and microsatellite instability status: CIN+, MSI+, and MACS. Clinicopathologic, genetic, and epigenetic differences among these three groups were investigated by immunohistochemical analysis of p53, APC, hMLH1, and BAX and methylation study of p14 ARF , hMLH1, p16 INK4a , MGMT, and MINT1 with methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction.


The 69 cases included 49 CIN+, 7 MSI+, and 13 MACS. MACS were found to differ from CIN+ and MSI+ in three aspects. The clinicopathologic features of MACS were similar to MSI+ but distinguished from CIN+. Comparatively, MACS preferred proximal location and poor differentiation (p < 0.05). An immunohistochemical study demonstrated that MACS had a lower rate of loss of hMLH1 or BAX protein than MSI+ and less loss of APC protein than CIN+. In an epigenetic aspect, both MACS and MSI+ had a high rate of CpG island methylator phenotype (46.2 and 42.9%). However, they differed in the presence of hMLH1 methylation (7.7 vs 57.1%, p < 0.05). Otherwise, compared with CIN+, MACS had a more frequent CpG island methylator phenotype and MINT1 methylation (p < 0.05) and relatively more common p16 INK4a methylation with marginal significance (p = 0.056).


MACS sporadic colorectal cancers may compose a unique phenotype with distinct clinicopathologic and molecular characteristics.

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