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Mismatch repair deficiency testing in Lynch syndrome-associated urothelial tumors

Lookup NU author(s): Maria Rasmussen, Peter Sowter, Dr Richard Gallon, Christine Hayes, Dr Mauro Santibanez Koref, Dr Michael Jackson, Professor Sir John BurnORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © 2023 Rasmussen, Sowter, Gallon, Durhuus, Hayes, Andersen, Nilbert, Schejbel, Høgdall, Santibanez-Koref, Jackson, Burn and Therkildsen. Introduction: Lynch syndrome-associated cancer develops due to germline pathogenic variants in one of the mismatch repair (MMR) genes, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 or PMS2. Somatic second hits in tumors cause MMR deficiency, testing for which is used to screen for Lynch syndrome in colorectal cancer and to guide selection for immunotherapy. Both MMR protein immunohistochemistry and microsatellite instability (MSI) analysis can be used. However, concordance between methods can vary for different tumor types. Therefore, we aimed to compare methods of MMR deficiency testing in Lynch syndrome-associated urothelial cancers. Methods: Ninety-seven urothelial (61 upper tract and 28 bladder) tumors diagnosed from 1980 to 2017 in carriers of Lynch syndrome-associated pathogenic MMR variants and their first-degree relatives (FDR) were analyzed by MMR protein immunohistochemistry, the MSI Analysis System v1.2 (Promega), and an amplicon sequencing-based MSI assay. Two sets of MSI markers were used in sequencing-based MSI analysis: a panel of 24 and 54 markers developed for colorectal cancer and blood MSI analysis, respectively. Results: Among the 97 urothelial tumors, 86 (88.7%) showed immunohistochemical MMR loss and 68 were successfully analyzed by the Promega MSI assay, of which 48 (70.6%) were MSI-high and 20 (29.4%) were MSI-low/microsatellite stable. Seventy-two samples had sufficient DNA for the sequencing-based MSI assay, of which 55 (76.4%) and 61 (84.7%) scored as MSI-high using the 24-marker and 54-marker panels, respectively. The concordance between the MSI assays and immunohistochemistry was 70.6% (p = 0.003), 87.5% (p = 0.039), and 90.3% (p = 1.00) for the Promega assay, the 24-marker assay, and the 54-marker assay, respectively. Of the 11 tumors with retained MMR protein expression, four were MSI-low/MSI-high or MSI-high by the Promega assay or one of the sequencing-based assays. Conclusion: Our results show that Lynch syndrome-associated urothelial cancers frequently had loss of MMR protein expression. The Promega MSI assay was significantly less sensitive, but the 54-marker sequencing-based MSI analysis showed no significant difference compared to immunohistochemistry. Data from this study alongside previous studies, suggest that universal MMR deficiency testing of newly diagnosed urothelial cancers, using immunohistochemistry and/or sequencing-based MSI analysis of sensitive markers, offer a potentially useful approach to identification of Lynch syndrome cases.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rasmussen M, Sowter P, Gallon R, Durhuus JA, Hayes C, Andersen O, Nilbert M, Schejbel L, Hogdall E, Santibanez-Koref M, Jackson MS, Burn J, Therkildsen C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Oncology

Year: 2023

Volume: 13

Online publication date: 18/04/2023

Acceptance date: 23/03/2023

Date deposited: 12/06/2023

ISSN (electronic): 234-943X

Publisher: Frontiers Media SA


DOI: 10.3389/fonc.2023.1147591


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Funder referenceFunder name
Aspirin for Cancer Prevention (AsCaP) group, Cancer Research UK
Danish Cancer Society Research Center
Swedish Cancer Society