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Hum Mol Genet. 1996 Sep;5(9):1245-52.

Microsatellite instability and mutation analysis of hMSH2 and hMLH1 in patients with sporadic, familial and hereditary colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


To date, at least four genes involved in DNA mismatch repair, hMSH2, hMLH1, hPMS1 and hPMS2, have been demonstrated to be altered in the germline of patients with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). Additionally, defective mismatch repair is thought to account for the observation of microsatellite instability (MIN) in tumors from these patients. The genetic defect responsible for the MIN+ phenotype in sporadic colorectal cancer, however, has yet to be clearly delineated. In order to better understand the role of somatic and germline alterations within hMSH2 and hMLH1 in the process of colorectal tumorigenesis, we examined the entire coding regions of both of these genes in seven patients with MIN+ sporadic colorectal cancer, 19 patients with familial colorectal cancer, and 20 patients meeting the strict Amsterdam criteria for HNPCC. Thirteen germline, two somatic, and four neutral alterations were identified. The two somatic mutations occurred in patients having familial cancer, while the germline mutations were distributed among one sporadic (14%), three familial (16%), and nine HNPCC (45%) cases. All patients with identified mutations in the mismatch repair genes, whose tumors were available for analysis, demonstrated MIN. On the other hand, we could not identify mutations in the subset of clinically defined HNPCC patients with MIN negative tumors nor in the majority (6/7) of MIN+ sporadic tumors.

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