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Gut. 2008 Nov;57(11):1539-44. doi: 10.1136/gut.2008.156695. Epub 2008 Jul 14.

A high incidence of MSH6 mutations in Amsterdam criteria II-negative families tested in a diagnostic setting.

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  • 1Erasmus MC University Medical Center, 's Gravendijkwal 230, 3015CE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



In Lynch syndrome, the clinical phenotype in MSH6 mutation families differs from that in MLH1 and MSH2 families. Therefore, MSH6 mutation families are less likely to fulfil diagnostic criteria such as the Amsterdam II criteria (AC II) and the revised Bethesda guidelines (rBG), and will be underdiagnosed. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the contribution of MSH6 gene mutations in families that were analysed for Lynch syndrome in a diagnostic setting.


Families that had molecular analysis for Lynch syndrome were included in this study. Complete molecular screening of the MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 genes was performed in all families. Microsatellite instability (MSI) and immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis was performed in almost all families. Clinical data were collected from medical records and family pedigrees.


A total of 108 families were included. MSI and IHC analysis was performed in 97 families, and in 40 an MSI-high phenotype with absent protein expression was found. Germline mutation analysis detected mutations in 23 families (7 MLH1, 4 MSH2 and 12 MSH6). The majority of MSH6 families were AC II negative, but fulfilled the rBG.


There is a high incidence of MSH6 mutations in families tested for Lynch syndrome in a diagnostic setting. Many of these families remain underdiagnosed using the AC II. The rBG are more useful to select these families for further analysis. However, to optimise the detection of MSH6 families, MSI and IHC analysis should also be performed in families with clustering of late-onset endometrial carcinoma.

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