Implication of DNA repair genes in Lynch-like syndrome

Research paper by Rosa M. Xicola, Julia R. Clark, Timothy Carroll, Jurgis Alvikas, Priti Marwaha, Maureen R. Regan, Francesc Lopez-Giraldez, Jungmin Choi, Rajyasree Emmadi, Victoria Alagiozian-Angelova, Sonia S. Kupfer, Nathan A. Ellis, Xavier Llor

Indexed on: 20 Jul '19Published on: 15 Apr '19Published in: Familial Cancer


Many colorectal cancers (CRCs) that exhibit microsatellite instability (MSI) are not explained by MLH1 promoter methylation or germline mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes, which cause Lynch syndrome (LS). Instead, these Lynch-like syndrome (LLS) patients have somatic mutations in MMR genes. However, many of these patients are young and have relatives with cancer, suggesting a hereditary entity. We performed germline sequence analysis in LLS patients and determined their tumor’s mutational profiles using FFPE DNA. Six hundred and fifty-four consecutive CRC patients were screened for suspected LS using MSI and absence of MLH1 methylation. Suspected LS cases were exome sequenced to identify germline and somatic mutations. Single nucleotide variants were used to characterize mutational signatures. We identified 23 suspected LS cases. Germline sequence analysis of 16 available samples identified five cases with LS mutations and 11 cases without LS mutations, LLS. Most LLS tumors had a combination of somatic MMR gene mutation and loss of heterozygosity. LLS patients were relatively young and had excess first-degree relatives with cancer. Four of the 11 LLS patients had rare likely pathogenic variants in genes that maintain genome integrity. Moreover, tumors from this group had a distinct mutational signature compared to tumors from LLS patients lacking germline mutations in these genes. In summary, more than a third of the LLS patients studied had germline mutations in genes that maintain genome integrity and their tumors had a distinct mutational signature. The possibility of hereditary factors in LLS warrants further studies so counseling can be properly informed.

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