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J Urol. 2003 Oct;170(4 Pt 1):1151-4.

Microsatellite instability in urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract.

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Centre de Recherche sur les Pathologies Prostatiques, Equipe d'Accuil 3104, Départments d'Urologie, C.H.U. Saint-Louis, Evry, France.



Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the upper urinary tract (TCC-UUT) may develop with high frequency in patients with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer syndrome. Tumors in patients with this syndrome show genomic lesions in DNA mismatch repair genes that are detectable as microsatellite instability (MSI). Because little is known about genetic lesions in TCC-UUT compared with bladder TCC, we determined the genetic profiles (MSI and allelic loss) in a series of 26 upper urinary tract tumors using 5 informative microsatellite markers.


A total of 26 paraffin embedded samples from 24 patients with clinically diagnosed TCC-UUT (renal pelvis and/or ureter) were tested for loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and MSI with the dinucleotide markers D9S171 (9p21) and D5S346 (5q22), and the mononucleotide repeats BAT25 (4q12), BAT26 (2p16) and BAT40 (1p13.1).


MSI was detected at 1 or more microsatellite loci in 12 of the 26 tumors (46%). The markers BAT40, BAT25, BAT26, D9S171 and D5S346 showed instability in 7, 4, 4, 2 and 3 tumor samples, respectively. LOH at D9S171 was detected in 58% of the cases and 10 of the 14 tumors showing LOH were superficial. LOH at D5S346 occurred in 27% of the cases and it was a feature of invasive high grade TCC-UUT.


Frequent LOH at D9S171 in TCC-UUT confirms that LOH at 9p21 is not only observed in bladder TCC, but rather in whole urinary tract TCC. Furthermore, our study indicates a high level of MSI in TCC-UUT, although it is a rare event in bladder cancer. The establishment of distinct genetic profiles between upper and lower urinary tract tumors could provide an additional tool to improve diagnosis, disease monitoring and prediction of prognosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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