, Volume 459, Issue 1, pp 55-63
Date: 15 Apr 2011

Differential clinicopathological features in microsatellite instability-positive colorectal cancers depending on CIMP status

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Microsatellite instability-positive (MSI+) colorectal cancers (CRCs) are divided into CpG island methylator phenotype-positive (CIMP+) and CpG island methylator phenotype-negative (CIMP−) tumors. The repertoire of inactivated genes in CIMP+/MSI+ CRCs overlaps with but is likely to differ from that of CIMP−/MSI+ CRCs. Because epigenotypic differences are likely to be manifested as phenotypic differences, CIMP+/MSI+ CRCs are expected to differ from CIMP−/MSI+ CRCs in some clinicopathological features. This study aimed to characterize both common and different features between the two subtypes. A total of 72 MSI+ CRCs were analyzed for their methylation status in eight CIMP panel markers using MethyLight assay. CIMP+/MSI+ and CIMP−/MSI+ CRCs were compared regarding clinicopathologic features and mutation in KRAS/BRAF. An independent set of MSI+ CRCs (n = 97) was analyzed for their relationship of CIMP+ status with clinical outcome. Eighteen cases (25%) were CIMP+, and this CIMP+ subtype was highly correlated with older age (P < 0.001). Polypoid gross appearance without ulceration was observed only in CIMP−/MSI+ CRCs (18.5%, P = 0.057). CIMP+/MSI+ CRCs were closely associated with poor differentiation, medullary appearance, signet ring cell appearance, and acinar-form appearance, whereas the CIMP−/MSI+ subtype was closely associated with intraglandular eosinophilic mucin and stratified nuclei (all P values <0.05). Patients with CIMP+/MSI+ CRCs showed worse overall survival than patients with CIMP−/MSI+ CRCs. Our results demonstrate heterogeneity in the clinicopathological features of MSI+ CRCs depending on CIMP status. The observation that CIMP+ and CIMP− subtypes showed different clinical behaviors may provide a clue for establishing subtype-specific therapeutic strategies for these two subtypes.

Jeong Mo Bae and Mi Jung Kim equally contributed to this work.