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Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2000 Oct;29(2):130-6.

Mutations associated with microsatellite unstable colorectal carcinomas exhibit widespread intratumoral heterogeneity.

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Department of Cancer Genetics, Kolling Institute, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonard's, University of Sydney, Australia.


Although microsatellite instability (MSI) has been shown to be present in 15% of sporadic colorectal carcinomas, the genetic events underlying the development of these tumors have not been well described. By investigating intratumoral heterogeneity, this study attempts to elucidate whether MSI-positive colorectal carcinomas develop as the result of a random accumulation of mutations or as an ordered, stepwise sequence of genetic alterations. Eighty-six regions from 16 MSI-positive sporadic colorectal carcinomas were examined for mutations in repeat nucleotide sequences of the tumour suppressor genes transforming growth factor beta type II receptor (TGFBRII), insulin-like growth factor II receptor (IGFIIR), and BAX, and the mismatch repair genes MSH3 and MSH6. At least 2 and up to 5 of these genes were mutated in each tumour, and widespread intratumoral heterogeneity was observed for each gene. Regions of tumour with TGFBRII mutations were correlated with a poorly differentiated histology. Unlike the situation in microsatellite stable colorectal carcinomas, the findings of the present study did not suggest that a particular sequence of tumour suppressor and mismatch repair genes are mutated during colorectal tumorigenesis. It seems likely that a random accumulation of mutations, as a result of a defect in the mismatch repair pathway, drives tumour progression in this type of colorectal carcinoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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